Cong leader's kin, 13 aides nabbed; money exchange racket busted

Cong leader's kin, 13 aides nabbed; money exchange racket busted

 Former Karnataka Legislative Council  chairman and senior Congress leader Veeranna Mattikatti’s son-in-law and 13 associates were arrested in Bengaluru on Sunday for trying to exchange demonetised notes.

A team of the Central Crime Branch raided a house in J C Nagar late Saturday night and recovered Rs 9.10 crore worth currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations.

The police detained 14 people who were present at the house as they failed to produce documents to show the source of the cash. Two cars, two bikes and 15 mobile phones have been recovered from the suspects.

The sleuths had arrested a realtor, Nanjunda, when he was trying to exchange demonetised notes on March 28, and had recovered Rs 3 crore worth old notes from him.

During interrogation, he disclosed information about a network engaged in the exchange of demonetised notes for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

Mattikatti’s son-in-law Praveen Kumar (42), a native of Dharwad, has been residing at Sadashivanagar for the last three years.

Kumar had finalised a deal of 58% commission for exchanging old notes, and had stored the cash at one Edwin Rozario’s house in Benson Town. He then requested an NRI, whose identity is not yet known, to collect the notes from Edwin’s house, the police said.

After inputs from Nanjunda, the police began closely monitoring the phone records of Kumar and his associates. On Saturday night, the police were waiting near Edwin’s house in civil dress. But the NRI didn’t turn up and the sleuths raided the house,” a senior officer said.

“The police produced 14 suspects before a court and 13 of them were remanded in judicial custody for two weeks. Edwin has been remanded in police custody for interrogation,” ACP H M Mahadevappa said.

The suspects have been booked under IPC Section 420 (cheating), CrPC section 41B and Section 7 of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017.

3rd time in 10 days

This is the third time in less than 10 days that CCB sleuths have conducted raids and recovered illegal notes.

On March 23, they arrested two persons for attempting to exchange demonetised currency worth Rs 1.28 crore. During a raid on March 28, four men were nabbed and Rs 4.98 crore worth notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations were seized from them.

NRIs can exchange notes till June 30

The RBI had extended till June 30, 2017, the deadline for NRIs to exchange old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. However, Indian citizens in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot avail this facility.

Not in touch with Praveen: MLC

Reacting to the arrest, MLC Veeranna Mattikatti claimed that he had not been in touch with his son-in-law for the past six months. “I am not in touch with Praveen Kumar for the last six months. The police are free to take action against him if he has committed any unlawful act,” he said. “I am busy with campaigning for the Congress candidates in the Gundlupet and Nanjangud bypolls,” he said.

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