Investigations into the seizure of fake Indian currency with a face value of Rs 1.54 crore from a luxury bus in Delhi last week have thrown the veil off what appears to be an extraordinary criminal operation sprawled over two months and at least four countries, apart from multiple states in India.
Two Turkish nationals and an Indian man detained by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on June 3 were arrested on Tuesday, and are likely to be taken on remand on Wednesday.
The men were travelling in a Mercedes Benz luxury bus with a special compartment in which the fake currency — high quality counterfeit Rs-500 notes — was hidden. It took DRI two days of intensive searching to locate the fake currency.
Investigators said they have identified the two Turkish nationals as Mehmood (41) and Hussain (43), and the Indian as Anwar. The Ministry of External Affairs had been brought in the loop and the Turkish mission had been informed, DRI officers said.
The officers said Anwar — who was on bail after having been arrested in another fake currency case earlier — had told investigators that the fake notes were intended to be split and sent to several places in India.
“He has provided us with some leads on which we are working. It appears to be a huge racket spread across the country,” said a DRI officer.
Officers said the two Turkish nationals had told them they had hired the foreign-registered luxury bus in Turkey. “They started their journey in Turkey over two months ago, and travelled to Iran and Pakistan before entering India in April. From India, they drove to Bangladesh, before returning to India,” an officer said.