Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing police seized counterfeit notes in Nu 1,000 denominations worth Nu 40,000 on December 2.

The fake notes were dropped at the main gate by a Jaigaon resident.

A 56-year-old man, who lived in Phuentsholing until September of this year and now lives in Jaigaon, left the fake notes deliberately at the main gate and disappeared, said Phuentsholing police.

“He dropped the plastic bag with the fake notes near the gate and left. He didn’t listen to the duty officials calling to him,” a police source said.

The plastic bag was opened after following the safety protocols and fake notes totalling Nu 40,000 were found. It was later confirmed by the banks that the notes were fake.

Prior to dropping the notes at the gate, police had denied the suspect’s request to transfer money on two occasions. He had requested to send the money to his Bhutanese wife in Phuentsholing. The duty officials had asked him to transfer the money legally.

According to Phuentsholing police, the counterpart officials in Jaigaon have been informed about the case and the man. The police are currently waiting for a response from the counterpart officials.

The suspect currently lives in Jaigaon with his son. Before leaving Phuentsholing, he operated a massage parlour in Phuentsholing with his alleged wife. He had been in trouble several times before in Phuentsholing due to suspected prostitution rackets he ran under the guise of massage parlours.

Meanwhile, the suspect’s alleged wife had also recently told the duty police at the gate that she wanted to collect some clothes from her alleged husband. The suspect instead came with the fake notes.

According to a source, the fake note drop-off was an attempt to get back at his wife for some personal misunderstanding.

She was also recently under police interrogation due to her links to a money laundering case. She used to find expatriate labourers in Phuentsholing, take their work permit details, and use them to make Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) at one of the banks.

The police will file a case against both the suspect and his Bhutanese wife. However, the latter has been released on bail. The woman will be charged for “aiding and abetting.”

The counterfeiting case will be charged as a fourth-degree felony.

The counterfeiting incident indicates that there are fake Ngultrum banknotes being circulated across the border. Police have cautioned people to be “extremely careful” while receiving money in cash. People are advised to verify the authenticity of the notes.