22 fakes of 2,000-rupee notes seized from junior artiste

First case of counterfeit currency since note ban; police see organised racket

22 fakes of 2,000-rupee notes seized from junior artiste

In the first major haul since demonetisation, police seized 22 counterfeit notes of Rs 2,000 denomination by arresting a small-time Kannada film actor and an auto-rickshaw driver near Dobbspet, about 20 km north of Bengaluru, on Thursday.

Jayamma (45), a supporting actor in Kannada films, shopped at Prince cloth store near Dobbspet and tendered a 2,000-rupee note.

The shopkeeper refused to accept the note, saying it was not genuine. He grew suspicious and started asking Jayamma about the source of the note. Jayamma panicked, darted out of the store and rode off in a waiting autorickshaw. Seeing her, the shopkeeper and his three men went after the autorickshaw.

Jayamma then went to Manjunath Bakery near Lakkur on Koratagere main road and shopped for Rs 150. She gave the same Rs 2,000 note. The elderly shopkeeper accepted the note and gave her the change.

The apparel store owner and his friends waylaid the auto-rickshaw near Madenalli and confronted Jayamma.

They also called the police who arrived at the spot and detained Jayamma. When police checked the baggage in the auto-rickshaw, they found 21 counterfeit notes of 2,000-rupee denomination, a police officer said. The auto-rickshaw driver, Govindaraju (45), was also detained.

The money trail
Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajendra Prasad confirmed to DH that the notes were counterfeit, and not the photocopies of the original bill. “We have sent them for forensic examination,” he said.

Another senior police officer said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was likely to question Jayamma and Govindaraju to ascertain the source of the notes. There is speculation that the notes were sourced from either Chennai or Hyderabad, the officer said.

Jayamma is said to have told the police that she received the notes from her relative Maruthi, who lives in Hulikunte village, Doddaballapur taluk. She said that Maruthi had stashed about 33,000 notes of Rs 2,000 denomination.

A police source said Jayamma’s nephew was arrested about a year ago for a similar offence. Police suspect the nephew’s contacts were now doing business with Jayamma. They have detained one such man who is said to have confessed to sourcing counterfeit notes from a person in Kolkata. The notes could have found their way to Kolkata from Bangladesh, the source said. Police are on the counterfeit currency trail.

An investigating officer said they were probing how Jayamma, who belonged to a poor family, made so much in a short period of time. A junior artiste can’t make so much money. “She hired another nephew (sister’s son) Pradeep as her chauffeur and would often visit Dobbspet,” the officer said.

Jayamma and Govindaraju have been booked under IPC Sections 489B (using as genuine, forged or counterfeit currency notes or banknotes) and 489 C (possession of forged or counterfeit currency notes or banknotes).

Bengaluru Rural Superintendent of Police Amit Singh refused to give more details, saying the matter was sensitive and that investigation was going on.

On four occasions in the past, police in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts had unearthed fake Rs 2,000 notes, but the notes turned out be photocopies of the original bills.
DH News Service

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