NIA in Kathmandu; India presses for strong action in fake currency case

NIA is keen to unearth the possible international links of the FICN network

nia-logo-latest (File) Representational image

Close on the heels of the arrest of fake Indian currency kingpin Yunus Ansari along with three Pakistani nationals in Nepal, India has dispatched a team of the National Investigation Agency to Kathmandu to probe alongside the Nepalese Police the larger conspiracy behind the biggest haul of counterfeit Indian currency in the neighbouring country post the demonetisation exercise.

The NIA is keen to unearth the possible international links of the fake Indian currency note (FICN) network and know from where the dangers are lurking on the Indian economy. This is also the first time an NIA team is on foreign soil for a case involving recovery of a huge tranche of fake Indian currency, worth Rs 7 crore.

The NIA has been trying to gather concrete evidence to blow the lid off the Pakistan's ISI-sponsored FICN machinery being run on its soil. Ansari, son of a former Nepal minister, is known to have links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan's ISI. The well-oiled machinery includes the printing of fake currency notes, concerted attempt to push it into other neighbouring countries to finally enter India.

The case becomes important for the NIA as it has been mandated by the Modi government to crack down on FICN networks that threaten to destabilise the country's economy. A dedicated cell in NIA oversees all FICN related crimes.

“An NIA team is in Nepal to unravel the conspiracy and impress upon the Nepalese authorities for strong action,'' said an official.

Sources said this is the biggest FICN haul after the demonetisation exercise since the counterfeit notes that have been recovered are of Rs 2,000 denomination.

The move of the government to send an NIA team to Nepal is also an attempt to demonstrate the seriousness of the matter. New Delhi has already asked the Nepalese authorities for stringent action to curb such activities. Nepal has traditionally been used as a transit route for FICN smuggling from Pakistan given its porous international border with India.

The tip off came from the central intelligence agency about the movement of counterfeit currency notes of denomination Rs 2,000. A total of six arrests have been made in the case, which includes three Pakistani nationals who were arrested from Kathmandu airport after they arrived from Qatar. Ansari, who was at the airport to receive them along with two others, his driver and a relative, was also arrested.