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Pakistani held with fake Indian notes in Nepal

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Pakistani, posing as a physically challenged man, was caught at Kathmandu’s international airport while trying to smuggle in fake Indian currency — with a face value of Rs.2.5 million — stashed away in his wheelchair, police said Tuesday.

Mohammad Farook, who arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport on a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Karachi Monday evening, was arrested by police after an X-ray search revealed he had hidden fake Indian currency notes of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 denomination in the seat of his wheelchair.

“As per regulations, passengers requiring a wheelchair have to use one provided by the airline they are travelling with,” an airport security police official told IANS.

“However, after landing at the airport around 6.30 p.m., Farook began insisting that he be allowed to wheel himself out using the wheelchair in his baggage. That made us suspicious,” the official said.

The man had fake notes with a face value of about Rs.2.5 million stashed in the seat of the wheelchair as well as his briefcase, where a part of the counterfeit was concealed in a secret compartment.

Local media reports said though he had a limp he could move around without a wheelchair.

He was also reported to have come to Nepal earlier.

Farook’s arrest comes less than five months after police arrested a Pakistani woman, Mariam Wali Mohammad, who also flew in from Karachi carrying fake Indian currency with a face value of Rs.3 million.

Last month, police arrested a Bangladeshi, Mohammad Rafiq, who led police to his accomplices, a Nepali and an Indian.

Police said passengers from Pakistan and Bangladesh are under special scrutiny.

Nepal’s use as a transit point for smuggling fake Indian currency has the Indian authorities increasingly worried.

It is of special concern that the counterfeiters have been able to replicate in record time the new security measures, including fresh designs, introduced in currency notes by the Indian authorities.

How to combat the trade has been on the agenda of several Indian ministers and senior officials who visited Nepal, including External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])