KOCHI: Seven members, all gentlemen, were staying at the two-storey house at Painkutty, a remote village on the Piravom-Elanji road. However, their attempts to exchange the fake currency notes in local shops and market put them under the agencies’ radar.Madhusoodhanan, allegedly the mastermind, took the house for a rental charge of `12,500 per month. They also paid `50,000 as advance to house owner Sunny. The house is located about 500 metres away from the main road. Hence, local residents did not see any suspicious activity.
“The gang photocopied the currency bills and printed using the screen printing technology. They used advanced machines and no voices were heard outside,” said an official with the probe team. Fake bills of `500 with a total face value of `7.57 lakh were seized, but it is suspected they printed more notes.
“Normally, the counterfeit rackets do not exchange the notes in the local market. Recently, fake notes were recovered from a trader in Piravom market. Hence, the investigation focused on this area,” said another officer.
To convince the owner and locals, the gang brought many items used in event management for serial production. “Only one or two persons were seen outside during the daytime. However, the car they used was often seen going to and fro,” said Mathew, a local resident. “My brother sold about one acre of land where this house stands to Sunny two years ago. So far, no objections had been raised against the gang till now,” said Jojo Peter, another neighbour.