Published On : Wed, Aug 9th, 2017

Currency Exchange Nexus : 4 arrested; Wardha doctor, cooler trader still absconding

Nagpur: The alleged banned currency exchange racket has only weaved more sensation into the crime element of Nagpur. While the crime branch is on its heels to nab the perpetrators of crime, it came up with a major breakthrough in seizure of demonetised cash worth Rs 97.50 lakh. The crime branch sleuths have arrested four culprits including two from Mumbai suburban and one each from Sangamner and Ahmednagar. Nagash Pushkar (40), a resident of Kalyan, Mumbai, and a builder was nabbed from his residence. Pushkar is perceived to be the kingpin of the currency exchange racket.

The arrest of the kingpin would lead cops to names of Government and banking officials who were helping them to facilitate exchange of old high denomination currency notes. Infact, the quantum of old notes exchanged after the official date was over, would also help the investigating agencies to find out the exact value of notes illegally exchanged along with moles in the system. Wardha based doctor Subhash Khandare and the businessmen dealing in coolers are also accused in the case. The accused were in the flat when cops had conducted the raid. The police have conducted searches at the house of Dr. Khandare and cooler businessmen twice in last week. Both the accused are still at large and police might soon close on them.

The arrest of Prasanna Pardhi and joining of investigations by Kumar Chugani, the local facilitators, and filtering of Call Data Records (CDR) provided the leads about the quartet who had come down to city for exchange of banned notes. Sources informed that a team of Crime Branch then arrested Pushkar from Kalyan area and others from Dombivali, Sangamner and Ahmednagar. The police have also seized a Mahindra SUV in which the accused had arrived in city. The other three arrested accused include a driver of Mahindra SUV and two businessmen who came to city for exchanging the notes in lieu of hefty commission demanded by middlemen.

Sources further informed that the accused had stayed at Hotel Dua in Sadar area of city. Around eight to nine persons from different States of country were staying in city since last eight days and they had come to exchange huge stock of old notes. According to sleuths, Rishi Khosla, and Kumar Chugani (45), a resident of Khare town, were the main operational hands of Pushkar, who was incontact of many city businessmen. “Khosla and Chugani were making random calls to businessmen offering to exchange the demonetised currency for 75% commission,” revealed a senior officer.

Sources informed that police were analysing CDR of the accused to unearth the identity of city businessmen who might be involved in the racket.

Khosla and Chugani were getting 5% commission in exchange of the notes. Pushkar, who is the builder, had friendly relations with Khosla. It may be mentioned that the police had a tip-off about a deal to exchange demonetised currency at Rana Apartment on July 1.

The accused were under impression that exchange was supposedly being facilitated by an official of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Acting on the tip-off, the police entered the apartment posing as the RBI official. After getting the cash, the police officerrevealed his real identify as a police officer after which the four persons overpowered the PSI. One accused caught hold of the PSI while other three fled the spot by locking flat’s door from outside.