Officials of the Wanwadi police station have arrested a 45-year-old man and seized fake currency notes with a face value of Rs 2.70 lakh from him. The police said the accused, Vasant Jagtap, had learnt about the counterfeit currency racket from a Bangladeshi inmate in jail last year.
The arrest was made on Tuesday, and during the investigations that followed the police came to know that the arrested person had been in Kalyan jail as a convict in a murder case.
The police said that during his stay in the jail Jagtap had met a Bangladeshi inmate who was an accused in a fake currency case and decided to run a counterfeit notes racket in the city with his help. Jagtap, a resident of Ambegaon Pathar, was found to have kept fake notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination at his home.
Preliminary investigations revealed that Jagtap had circulated fake notes with a face value of almost Rs 20 lakh in the city since his release early this year.
“On Tuesday afternoon, the accused had gone to a grocery shop in Hadapsar and asked for soap,” Police Sub-Inspector Prasad Sanas of the Wanwadi police station said.
“The shopkeeper, Riyaz Rashid Bagwan, who is also a complainant in this case, gave him soap worth Rs 42. The accused gave him a note of Rs 500 and also gave Rs 2 in change, and Bagwan returned him Rs 460.”
He said after Jagtap had left the shop, Bagwan checked the Rs 500 note thoroughly and realised it was fake, after which he ran after the accused.
“As Bagwan emerged from his shop, he saw the accused enter another shop,” Sanas said. “He followed Jagtap and saw him buying a cashew packet from the shop with a note of Rs 500.”
The officer said Bagwan came to the conclusion that Jagtap was making low-value purchases to pass on fake Rs 500 notes and immediately alerted the police control room, and subsequently the Wanwadi police station was alerted.
A team of police officials rushed to the spot and detained Jagtap, finding four notes of Rs 500 denomination one of Rs 1,000 on him. To verify the notes, the officials took Jagtap to a nearby bank, where all the notes were declared fake.
“We arrested him under the relevant sections of the IPC and during the investigation, he confessed that he had more fake currency notes at home,” Sanas said.
The police then went to Jagtap’s home in Ambegaon Pathar and found fake currency notes with a face value of Rs 2.67 lakh. A police official, who requested anonymity, said that during sustained grilling of the accused, he revealed the Vashi police had arrested him for killing his paramour’s husband in2009.
“During his stay in Kalyan jail, he had met one Mehrur, a Bangladeshi who was also in the same jail in a fake currency case,” the police officer said. “Jagtap then decided to run a fake currency racket with him in Pune and after the two were released from the jail in early 2012, they started circulating fake currency notes in Pune. So far Jagtap might have circulated fake notes with an approximate face value of Rs 20 lakh in the city by using the method of buying low-value products from small shops, where the chance of his trick being detected would be slim.”
The police said they had sent a team to West Bengal, from where Mehrur operates, to arrest him. Jagtap, who lives with his wife and son, used to work with the Katraj dairy as a clerk till 2009.
The police are now investigating to find out how many times Jagtap had visited West Bengal and other places in the country to bring fake currency notes to the city.
Police investigations are also on to determine whether more persons are involved in the racket. Jagtap was produced before a court and remanded in police custody till October 20.