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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

currency flowed at Guwahati Chachal wetlands

In Sanskrit, the river  ‘Swarnamuki’ itself means Golden river.  On Feb 1, 2011, I had posted  of  the huge cache of gold in the river Swarnamukhi. Newspapers had reported that Revenue Officials seized 1,800 Gold or other highly valuable glittering coins weighing about 3 kilos 800 grams, from a fisherman when he was found selling the coins at a Gold Smith shop.  Reportedly, those coins had entangled in the fish net in the Swarnamukhi river.  The coins bore QueenVictoria portrait on it with the year 1891 in print.  The news made hundreds of people dive and dip in the river in pursuit of more coins.  ….

“Finders, keepers” is an adage meaning that - when something is unowned or abandoned, whoever finds it can claim it. This idiom relates to an ancient Roman law of similar meaning and has been expressed in various ways over the centuries.   There exists one old enactment -  Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878 which authorizes Govt. to claim possession of any treasure unearthed that exceeded ten rupees in value.  This Act is still in force in various States as modified in Sept. 1949.   the Act defines  “treasure” to mean anything of any value hidden in the soil, or in anything and whenever such treasure is found, the finder has to notify the Collector in writing. 

Newspapers report that hundreds of residents of  Chachal area  in Guwahati, fished out currency notes in the denomination of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 from Silsako Beel, a wetland, but no one has any clue how the notes entered the wetland.  It is reported that when some people went fishing in the wetland, they noticed currency notes floating on the water. The news spread like wild fire and scores of people rushed to the wetland to try their luck and fish out as many notes as they could. Almost everyone got at least one or two notes. The people who found the money claimed that the notes were genuine.  The number of onlookers also swelled through the day as more people joined others in fishing out notes, even after dusk. A team of police officers was unable to find any clue after investigation.

The City Senior Superintendent of Police was quoted as stating that investigations were on to trace the source of the money and find out whether the notes were fake or genuine. There was some suspicion that it could be illegal money.  Some of those who entered the wetland early were able to find currency notes in the denomination of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 – the incident was beamed in local TV channels too adding to the mad rush for currency.  For some a note of Rs.1000/- was perhaps more than a month’s earning.   Some suspect that a huge stash of money could have been hidden on the banks of waterbody by some, which could have floated as the water level swelled.

Cash and currency lures mankind and it is impossible to resist the temptation of taking out any note lying unclaimed that one might stumble upon on a road.

Earlier during this month [6.6.12], a  van carrying several bundles of soiled currency notes worth Rs. 129 crores was involved in a road accident on the outskirts of Kadapa.  It was reported that the van belonging to VRL Transport Limited, was carrying soiled and torn currency notes with a face value of Rs. 129 crores from four banks — State Bank of India (SBI), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), Andhra Bank and Bank of Baroda — at Palamaner, Tirupati, Puttur and Srikalahasti.  The van was part of a convoy of five vehicles proceeding from Tirupati to deposit the cash to the Reserve Bank of India in Hyderabad. It collided with an Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus on Rajampet bypass road leading to the instantaneous death of driver Manthesh (32) of Karnataka.  The driver of the Kadapa-Rajampet APSRTC bus Gangulaiah (40) sustained a fracture in his leg while two policemen who were travelling in the van to escort the cargo, Janardhan and Narayana, were also injured.

Police officials, who rushed to the spot, examined the van that was partly entangled, rescued the injured driver sending him to hospital; they  later shifted the currency bundles into other vehicles and allowed them to proceed to their destination.  There were reports that some passersby walked away with some currency bundles.

Elsewhere in  Australia, there were reports of some amount of money going  missing from a company after motorists reported being showered with up to $22,000 while driving along a busy Melbourne highway .  Reports of the cash - which included $50 and $100 notes falling across the Western Ring Road before the Milleara Rd exit in Keilor East – did raise questions on origin of the mysterious money. Police warned  drivers who claim to have pocketed the cash to hand it in.  A report suggested of an unmade man claiming that he was driving when he entered the whirlwind of cash and he said, "There was so much in my face I couldn’t see anything in front of me. I thought it was all fake.  "I pulled over and found about $300 within two steps." The man said six other passers-by also pulled over and together the group peeled cash off the road for four hours.  He said he collected $8400, while the other people at the scene informed him they had pocketed up to $12,000 collectively.

Police had warned that if people had taken money they could face charges of theft if they failed to “take the reasonable steps to locate its owner” by handing it in.  They also notified that anyone with information, cash or anyone who may have witnessed activity in the Keilor East area is urged to contact Crime Stoppers

Strange are the events of the World and if you are lucky enough, money could come chasing to find you…….

With regards –S. Sampathkumar. 


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