Kathmandu, May 24
Nepal Police today busted an international racket involved in smuggling counterfeit Indian currency notes to Nepal via Tribhuvan International Airport and circulating them across India.
Police said six persons, including three Pakistani nationals and Nepal-based kingpin of the racket dealing in fake Indian banknotes, were arrested with the contraband worth approximately INR 76.7 million in denominations of Rs 2,000. Nepali members of international syndicate of fake currency notes are Yunus Ansari of Lalitpur, his brother-in-law (wife’s younger brother) Suyal Khan of Rautahat and their driver Sudan Ranabhat of Bhaktapur, while the Pakistani nationals are Nadia Anwar, Muhammad Akhtar and Nasir Uddin.
Deputy Inspector General Bishwaraj Pokharel, who is also Nepal Police spokesperson, told THT that it was the single largest haul of Indian fake currency notes and the first of its kind in Nepal after India demonetised high-value currency notes of INR 1,000 and INR 500 in 2016 and released notes in denomination of INR 2,000. The demonetisation was also aimed at controlling the growing menace of counterfeit currency.
Pakistani racketeers had arrived in Kathmandu with the consignment of fake Indian banknotes from Doha on a Qatar Airways flight. Fake currency was found to have been concealed in two suitcases during a security screening in arrival area of TIA at around 8:30am today. Ansari, who was in regular touch with Dubai-based Pakistani racketeers, had reached TIA to receive fake notes from the trio.
Surveillance was mounted on movement of Pakistani nationals in the only international airport of Nepal after police were tipped off by intelligence officials about attempts to smuggle fake banknotes to Nepal and pump the contraband in Indian capital market in collusion with their Nepali counterparts. Special Bureau of Nepal Police was deployed with the specific task of nabbing the suspects.
Police officials said they had been collecting requisite intelligence to thwart the smuggling attempt. At first sight, it will be difficult to distinguish the seized fake currency notes from the original ones as they have almost all security features, including watermarks.
This is the third time Ansari, the son of former minister Salim Miya Ansari, has been arrested for running a racket of fake Indian currency notes from Nepal. He was first held with Indian currency notes having a face value of INR 2.54 million from Thapathali, Kathmandu, on 22 December 2009. He returned to the trade of contraband after doing around four years in jail. On 10 March 2011, Ansari was shot at by Manmeet Singh, an Indian gunman, in the tightly guarded central jail. Police arrested Ansari with fake notes worth INR 3.5 million from Lalitpur on 25 January 2014 for the second time and released him on March 26 last year. He had mobilised racketeers even inside the jail, claim police.
A version of this article appears in print on May 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.