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In the last one month, as many as 11 persons have been arrested for allegedly operating a "local" fake Indian currency notes (FICN) racket in Maharashtra, with its kingpin being a Pune-based real estate agent.
Police said the suspects printed FICN at Nashik and planned to circulate it in the tribal and rural belts of Chandrapur and Gadchiroli districts, the areas infested by Naxals. The Chandrapur police have recovered FICN of the face value of
Rs 33.5 lakh from the suspects, mostly in the denominations of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500.
"So far, there is no evidence to believe the involvement of Naxal outfits in this racket," said the investigation officer.
The breakthrough came on April 4 when a joint team of Chandrapur and Gadchiroli police raided Sushila Hotel in Chandrapur. The team arrested four persons with FICN of Rs 32 lakh and genuine currency notes of Rs 1.28 lakh.
The four were Pramod Dattatraya Mohakar (48) of Karve Nagar (Pune), Prakash Changdev Vadiske (35) of Ahmednagar, Abhijit Mhaiskar (24) of Akola and Nagesh Prabhakar Ahire (32) of Chandrapur city. An offence was registered at the Ramnagar police station in Chandrapur under various Sections, including 489 and 120 (b) of the Indian Penal Code.
On April 11, the police said, they raided the printing unit set up by the suspects in Nashik and arrested two more persons — the key member of the racket Baba alias Prakash Gulab Jadhav of Ahmednagar and his aide Rajesh Dandekar of Akola. FICN of Rs 1.5 lakh, a laptop, printer, scanner, A-4 size papers, luminous pens and other items used for printing the counterfeit notes were recovered from their possession.
Subsequent action led to the arrest of five more persons — Tridev Mujumdar and Bhiguram Ramji Sangre of Gadchiroli, Ganesh Gawde of Ahmednagar, Vishwanath Palande of Titwala, Thane and Sachin Gangadhar Kotapalliwar of Chandrapur, a local criminal who was earlier booked in crimes like murder.