Mumbai: Court convicts youth for possession of counterfeit notes, acquits him of terror charges

The court said that merely possessing the notes can't be considered a terrorist act committed with an intention to damage India’s monetary stability

A sessions court in Mumbai convicted a 27-year-old for possession of counterfeit currency while acquitting him of terror charges Thursday. It also ordered his release from prison considering that he had already served time in jail since 2015.

Rafiqul Shaikh, a labourer, was arrested by the crime branch of the Mumbai Police in 2015 on charges pertaining to possession of counterfeit currency and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The police said they had received a tip-off that Shaikh was carrying counterfeit currency, based on which they conducted a personal search and found 159 notes of Rs 1,000 denomination with him.

A purchase receipt was also found which indicated that he had bought dress material worth Rs 1,000, the police submitted before the court. The cops also seized the counterfeit note from the shop.

During the trial, the court said the receipt had no tax details or serial number and was, hence, “doubtful” evidence. It added that though the accused had claimed to have no idea that the notes were counterfeit, they were of such substandard quality that even a person without in-depth knowledge of the matter could have realised that the notes were fake.

The court, however, added that in the absence of evidence, it can’t be said that merely possessing the fake notes is a terrorist act committed with an intention to damage India’s monetary stability. “Unless such evidence is given by the prosecution, the charge relating to ‘terrorist act’ as per the definition could not be proved,” the court said.

Though Shaikh’s counsel sought leniency under the Probation of Offenders Act by pointing out that he was only in his early 20s when arrested, the court rejected it saying the offence committed was not against an individual but it affected the “public financial system”.

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