‘Inspired by Marvel, Steve Jobs’, man behind fake Rs 2,000 notes wanted to ‘change lives’

Miss Alone

Prime VIP

The 21-year-old engineer who has been arrested as the kingpin of racket that print fake Rs 2,000 notes for Rs 80 lakh in Mohali, got appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year for his innovative products to help the blind.

Abhinav Verma was arrested with his cousin Vishakha Verma, and Ludhiana-based property dealer Suman Nagpal. The trio, along with two others, were duping people by exchanging the demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes for the fake Rs 2,000 notes. They were charging 30% commission for the exchange. “Abhinav is an engineering graduate who is into manufacturing sensors to be installed in the sticks for visually handicapped. His office is in Chandigarh and they used to print the fake currency of Rs 2,000 denomination at his office only,” police said. While Abhinav, and Vishakha, 23, who is pursuing MBA, used to print the fake currency, the property dealer used to find clients who wanted to get their unaccounted money converted to new currency.

Abhinav had last year claimed to have created ‘Live Braille’, a wearable technology innovation that helped blind people to walk around without the aid of a walking stick. The device used sensors to guide blind people and was hailed as a success. It even got a mention from Modi in December last year at the Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru. The device was commercially launched this year, touted as an innovation under the ‘Make in India’ programme, and sold in India and over 15 countries. Abhinav, who wanted to “change the lives of 50 million blind people in India” with the device, had termed it as a “freedom device”.

News reports about him in April this year said Abhinav was inspired by Steve Jobs and Marvel comics. Abhinav’s dream project would be making the Iron Man suit, he said, according to a report on the India Today website. He named his company EmbroS, an acronym to Embro Sapiens, which according to him, would be the name of the next generation of Homo sapiens.

He even got onto a fund-raising initiative -- Milaap -- for this campaign. The ‘Milaap’ website prominently mentions Abhinav’s innovation as “Recognised by the honourable PM Narendra Modi and former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. This device was amongst the Top-3 Hardware Technologies in India and was nominated amongst the Top-15 hardware startups at the Asia Hardware Battle, organised by TechCrunch and TechNode in March 2016”.