KOCHI: The Maradu Police on Friday caught four men red-handed while trying to sell obsolete Brazilian currency worth around Rs 36 lakh to a businessman at Tripunithura.
According to the police, the Thiruvananthapuram-based gang offered Brazilian Reais of denominations 1,000 and 500, which are not in circulation any more.
The Central Bank of Brazil had recalled the currency to help the country tide over recession.
“The group was trying to get rid of the outdated currencies and buy Indian rupees in exchange,” said Maradu sub-inspector A B Vipin.
Suresh Kumar, 41; Kattil Veetil Venu, 45; Mankuzhi Veetil (Kanyakumari) Abhilash, 35; and Christian Goswin, 34, were arrested while trying to cheat Sumod Mohan, a Kottayam-based businessman who runs a firm named ‘We Help’ at Tripunithura.
The police said the gang approached Sumod, who also deals in currency exchange, and offered to sell the Brazilian currency at the ‘cheap’ rate of Rs 15 per Real. As per the current market rate, the value of one Real is around Ra 19-21, though it is not exchangeable. A suspicious Sumod informed the police about the offer, who directed him to call the gang to the Vyttila Mobility Hub. They came with 68 Real currencies of denomination 1,000 and 354 currencies of denomination 500. Later, they were produced before the court, and were remanded for 14 days.
More Arrests in the coming days
The police suspect the involvement of a racket behind the botched attempt to exchange outdated Brazilian currency in Kochi on Friday.According to Maradu SI A B Vipin, the police have some clues about the source of the Real. He told ‘Express’ that more arrests would be made in the coming days, but refused to divulge more information as it could affect the probe. Though Real is not a currency an average Keralite can lay hands on easily, it is not the first time people from Kerala are getting involved in fraud using outdated Brazilian currency.