Bengaluru: Rs 7 crore worth demonetised Turkish currency seized, four arrested

The arrested people had struck a deal with a city-based businessman to exchange the currency notes for just Rs 27 lakh.

Bengaluru: Four people, including a head constable and a government teacher, both working in Chitradurga, were nabbed by the Marathahalli police on Tuesday while they arrived in the city to exchange 78 pieces of Turkey currency notes (Lira) with a face value of Rs 5 lakh each. In the current market, 1 Turkish Lira equals Rs 18.29 and the seized currency notes are worth Rs 71 crore.

The arrested people had struck a deal with a city-based businessman to exchange the currency notes for just Rs 27 lakh. The police laid a trap to nab the accused after Chellasamuel and Shakeer, the businessmen whom the accused offered to sell the Turkish liras, approached police and narrated the incident assuming it to be a case of cheating.

Initially, the duo decided to buy the currency when Shakeer told Chellasamuel that a person from Chitradurga is insisting him to buy high-value Turkish liras for a very low price. Later the duo decided to share the information with the police when they became suspicious.

The accused have been identified as Nagaraju (40), a head constable, Shivaraju (50), a teacher, Muruli (40), a film producer and Arvind Prasad (40) a Davangere-based realtor. They arrived in the city on Tuesday afternoon and Nagaraju met the businessmen and discussed the deal. He told them to come to the parking lot of Innovative Multiplex at Marathahalli with Rs 27 lakh. He even showed them a Turkish lira with a face value of Rs 5 lakh.

When the businessmen went to meet the accused at the decided place, the police nabbed the accused.

Nagaraju threatens cops.
As the police zeroed in on the accused and tried to nab them, Nagaraju tried to escape by pulling out his service pistol and pointed it at the temple of head constable Thimmappa Raju, threatening to kill him. He, however, was overpowered by other policemen and arrested. The prime accused, Charan Reddy, a native of Andhra Pradesh, managed to escape.

While being arrested, Nagaraju, identified himself as a sleuth with the State Intelligence Bureau and even showed his official ID card.

He told police that he had received the consignment from his contact Reddy, who is absconding. A manhunt has been launched by the police to arrest him and to ascertain the source of the currency.

According to police, Nagaraju had a licenced pistol with ten rounds of ammunition which was issued to him while he was in SP Squad in Chitradurga. Nagaraju was later transferred to Chitradurga Kote police station, but he did not surrender the pistol.

Nagaraju told interrogators that he came in contact with Reddy when he was arrested in 2016 by Hiriyur police. He ganged up with Reddy after helping him secure bail and joined him in the currency racket.

Earlier in August 2016, the city police had arrested a group of eight men for trying to sell Turkish Liras with a face value of around Rs 5 crore for Rs 30 lakh.

Lira demonetised in Turkey
The Turkish liras that the gang was selling were demonetised in Turkey on December 30, 2015. But the currency is a legal tender and can be redeemable to US dollars until December 31, 2019, at the Turkey Central Bank, the police said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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