|Friday, 10 January 2003|
by Sarath Malalasekera
The Criminal Investigations Department has sounded a red alert following the discovery of a massive quantity of forged Rs.1000 and Rs.500 currency notes in circulation throughout the country.
The Counterfeit Bureau of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducting investigations into the large scale racket of counterfeit notes in the Rs.1000 and Rs.500 denominations had discovered 141 forged Rs.1000 currency notes and 22 forged Rs.500 currency notes in Wellawaya and Passara police areas upto yesterday. The CID on Wednesday unearthed 39 forged Rs.1000 currency notes buried in an estate in the Passara police area.
In connection with this large scale racket, the CID had taken 14 suspects into custody and detained them until the completion of investigations.
The investigators have warned that over 2 million rupees 'worth' of currency notes are now in circulation. A top CID official said they are unaware of the full extent of the racket. "It could be several millions which in turn could have a devastating effect on the country's economy."
"This is only the tip of the iceberg. There may be millions already in circulation. Only a full investigation will reveal the exact quantity," the CID officials said.
The CID warned the public to be aware of these forged notes. One could identify a forged note from the colour. Genuine notes are printed on a special fabric which is different to ordinary paper, a Senior officer of the CID said.
CID investigations revealed that 13 counterfeit rings are printing the forged notes. The CID is investigating to ascertain whether these suspects are connected to the underworld gangs.
"If you come across any forged of Rs.1000 and Rs.500 currency notes inform the nearest Police station or the Counterfeit Bureau CID on 320141.'
The CID is also conducting investigations to ascertain whether any bank cashiers are involved in encashing the forged notes. Any person possessing forged notes could be taken into custody, the CID officials said.
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