The Nagapattinam police in Tamil Nadu have arrested three minor boys — two students of Class X and a Class VIII dropout — for printing and circulating counterfeit currency notes.
They said the dropout, aged around 14, made the counterfeit notes at the photo studio of one of his relatives in Kathiripulam.
The other two students are still in school, but were on holiday.
Since there was a temple festival underway in their locality, the boys were keen on purchasing toys but had no money to spend.
Deciding to make some easy money, the three juveniles hatched a plan to print currency notes by themselves.
Taking the help of YouTube videos on scanning technologies, the trio scanned Indian currency notes of different denominations — from ₹50 to ₹200 — and printed them using computers on A4 sheets.
Not realising that they were indulging in the counterfeiting of currencies, which is punishable by life imprisonment under Section 489 of the IPC, the boys used the fake note at the shops at the temple festivals to get ice creams and toys.
Police take action
Meanwhile, the Special Branch (SB) police received intel from a shopkeeper at the temple festival that counterfeit notes are being circulated in the region, and that he had received one such currency at hand. They immediately alerted their higher officials.
Acting on the tip-off, Nagapattinam Superintendent of Police (SP) Harsh Singh sent his team to the ground and tightened the surveillance in the region.
The whole strength of the Kariyapattinam Police Station was sent to the temple festival.
The police secured a minor boy on 4 June while he was trying to pay for ice cream with a counterfeit note.
The boy was taken into custody and confessed that he and his friends manufactured the fake notes using a scanner and printer in the photo studio.
The next day, the police raided the studio and seized the computer, scanner, and printer used to create the counterfeit notes.
The other two minor boys involved in the case were also detained by the police, and later arrested.
The police recovered counterfeit notes worth ₹32,000 from them. All three were sent to Juvenile Justice Homes, having been put in judicial custody.
A first in Tamil Nadu
SP Harsh Singh told South First that these boys had been involved in the crime for only 10 days, and there was no large-scale circulation.
“The boy who created the fake note was a class VIII dropout, and kind of tech-savvy. He learned about the nuances of scanning and designing on YouTube, and used two other boys to circulate the notes,” said the SP.
He added that the boys wanted to become rich easily.
“The juveniles were in the rudimentary stage and tried with the available basic technology. Ten years down the line, they would have tried something better if they were focused,” said Singh.
South First also learnt that this was the first time in Tamil Nadu that juveniles were involved and got arrested in a currency-counterfeiting case.
The SP also confirmed that there were no other gangs behind the boys.
“These boys planned it all and executed the crime by themselves. They exchanged only a few counterfeit notes and the remaining were seized. All were booked under Section 420 of the IPC,” he said.
The case is expected to be taken by the District Crime Branch and then transferred to the Counterfeit Currency Cell for further proceedings.