A young engineer, whose innovation was appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Indian Science Congress last year, was arrested on Thursday for printing fake Rs 2,000 notes worth Rs 42 lakh in Punjab's town of Mohali.
Abhinav Verma was arrested along with accomplices -- his cousin Vishakha Verma and Ludhiana-based property dealer Suman Nagpal -- by the Punjab Police in Mohali and adjoining Chandigarh. The trio was duping people by exchanging the demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes for fake Rs 2,000 notes printed by them.
The three were even charging a 30 per cent commission for the exchange.
Mohali Superintendent of Police (City) Parminder Singh said the fake currency was recovered on Wednesday from a brand new luxury Audi SUV which the trio were using.
The vehicle even had a red beacon, which is allowed only for VVIPs, on it.
The police have been conducting raids to arrest two more members of the gang who slipped away.
"The currency given by the gang (to their customers) even after charging commission was fake," Singh said.
While Abhinav, 21, and MBA-student Vishakha, 23, printed the fake currency, the property dealer was responsible for clients who wanted to get their unaccounted money converted to new currency.
"The notes seized from them had the same serial number," an investigating official said.
"Abhinav is an engineering graduate who is into manufacturing sensors to be installed in the sticks for visually handicapped. His office is in Chandigarh and they used to print the fake currency of Rs 2,000 denomination at his office only," the official said.
Abhinav had last year claimed to have created 'Live Braille', a wearable technology innovation that helped blind people to walk around without the aid of a walking stick.
His innovation was hailed as a success, and the device was commercially launched this year as an innovation under the 'Make in India' programme. It is sold in India and more than 15 other countries.
Abhinav, who wanted to "change the lives of 50 million blind people in India" with the device, called his creation a "freedom device". He even set up a fund-raising initiative called Milaap for the campaign.
The 'Milaap' website prominently mentions Abhinav's innovation as "Recognised by the honourable PM Narendra Modi and former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.