In the basement of a rundown shed on the city’s outskirts, a group of men were minting money – coins of Rs 5 and Rs 10. But, the money-making business came to a halt when a gang member was arrested on Saturday.
The group was counterfeiting for more than four months and had floated coins worth Rs 10 lakh in the market, police said on Sunday. Most of the coins were supplied to toll booths, car repair shops, grocery stores, petrol pumps, vegetable vendors who always need small change.
During a surprise check on Saturday, a Delhi Police anti-auto theft squad flagged down a Swift Dzire near Rohini in northwest Delhi and found 20 packets of coins.
Naresh Kumar, who was driving the car, told them he was an officer with the Punjab National Bank. When the policemen asked for his identity card, he refused to show it. He couldn’t tell them his rank or the bank branch he was employed with.
“The policemen then opened the packets and checked the coins, which were fake. Naresh was arrested from the spot,” deputy commissioner of police (outer) MN Tiwari said. As many as 2,000 coins worth Rs 40,000 were seized from him.
His questioning led police to a factory in Bawana industrial area. A police team recovered minting machines and raw material used in making the coins from the premises. Coins worth Rs 6 lakh were also seized.
The factory is owned by one Rajesh Kumar, who is missing. As investigations are in an early stage, police don’t know if Rajesh Kumar is the kingpin.
Naresh Kumar did name two of his accomplices -- Sonu and Raju. The two used to supply coins to him when he owned a small business of car accessories in Charkhi Dadri in neighbouring Haryana and convinced him to join them.
“Kumar started supplying the fake counterfeit currency coins provided by Raju and Sonu. He has also identified locations where the counterfeited coins were prepared, stored and distributed,” Tiwari said.
Police are looking for Sonu and Raju and questioning Kumar from more details.
Faking currency is an offence that can invite a maximum of life imprisonment. Only the Reserve Bank of India can issue coins for circulation. Coins are minted at four government mints in Mumbai, Kolkata, Noida and Saifabad and Cherlapally in Hyderabad.