HYDERABAD: Turkish currency Lira, that is no longer valid but purported to be worth `660 crore in Indian currency vallue, that was seized in the city recently from two gangs is suspected to have been stolen from Satya Sai Baba Trust of Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh after the demise of Satya Sai Baba.
After Sai Baba passed away in April 2011, there were allegations of theft of huge amounts of money from the Trust’s building at Prasanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi. The Trust used to receive huge donations from foreign countries.
Investigating into the case, the Hyderabad police and SOT of Cyberabad, which arrested 17 persons in two cases, came to the conclusion that the Turkish currency, which was withdrawn from circulation later on, was stolen from the Satya Sai Baba Trust of Puttaparthi.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that the banned Turkish currency worth `660 crore in Indian currency was stolen from Satya Sai Baba Trust. Five years after the demise of the godman, the stolen foreign currency was flooding the city,” said a senior police officer associated with the investigation.
Police have identified five gangs that were involved in circulating the banned Turkish currency. These include Gopu Ramalingam gang of Karimnagar, Puchakayala Veera Venkata Satyanarayana gang of Rajamahendravaram, Balla Hema Kumar gang of Guntur and Anil Kumar gang of Khammam.
Police suspect there are five other key persons who smuggled the Turkish currency into the city and they are absconding.
The police have now decided to file a petition in the court seeking custody of the accused who were lodged in jails in the city. “We will question them how the currency reached them. We want to track down the handlers of the arrested persons,” the officer said.
It may be mentioned that two days ago, SR Nagar police nabbed 10 persons who were in possession of the Turkish currency.
Hyd police recently busted two major foreign currency exchange rackets and seized outdated Turkey currency.
The currency released before 2005 is now banned in Turkey after the new currency came into use from 2009
The value of seized currency in Indian market is around `660 crore