The eco­nomic war­fare

Alive - - Menace -

The coun­ter­feit­ers used to run their busi­ness in groups for their own profit. The con­cept of eco­nomic war­fare was largely un­known. But Hitler’s Ger­many had changed the con­cept al­to­gether and had suc­cess­fully used coun­ter­feit­ing as eco­nomic war­fare against Bri­tain by launch­ing ‘Op­er­a­tion Bern­hard’ – an ex­er­cise by the Nazis to forge Bri­tish bank notes early in 1940.

The sec­ond phase of the op­er­a­tion was re­vived in 1942 for fi­nanc­ing Ger­man in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tion much like Pak­istan’s In­ter-Ser­vice In­tel­li­gence (ISI) backed ter­ror fund­ing in In­dia. Op­er­a­tion Bern­hard was the start of state spon­sored eco­nomic war­fare which is still a threat for most of the big economies across the globe in­clud­ing United

States. Su­per­doller – high qual­ity coun­ter­feit USD 100 bill which was al­most in­dis­tin­guish­able from the gen­uine ollers was pro­duced al­legedly by North Korea in late 1980.

with only Rs 40 Lakh in­clud­ing the re­wards that was re­port­edly paid to the fam­i­lies of ten ter­ror­ists.

On the other hand, the op­er­a­tion part is equip­ping few thou­sand in­fil­tra­tors with so­phis­ti­cated guns, ex­plo­sive and cash money. It can eas­ily be done through gen­er­at­ing low fund and ex­tor­tion from lo­cal peo­ple.

Car­ry­ing out eco­nomic war­fare by coun­ter­feit­ing can­not be re­stricted to launch de­mon­eti­sa­tion as they only need to make a close replica of new notes to be­fool the gen­eral pub­lic. The 95 per cent coun­ter­feited cur­rency will also serve their pur­pose.

NIA has learnt that FICN are printed in Pak­istan’s gov­ern­ment press and from there it makes the way to In­dia via other coun­tries. The notes are printed in two highly se­cured print­ing presses in Malir can­ton­ment near Karachi.

Mean­while, the coun­try’s in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have seen the first time FICN be­ing chan­nelised from China in 2013, which raised the eye­brow of the of­fices in se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment as China has never been used as FICN cor­ri­dor be­fore 2013.

In­dian in­tel­li­gence found that the Chi­nese drug car­tels and Pak­istani spy agency ISI had jointly worked to in­sert the FICN in In­dia via Nepal from China’s Xin­jiang prov­ince.

The Nepali law en­force­ment au­thor­ity acted on the tip-off pro­vided by the In­dian in­tel­li­gence, had ar­rested a person iden­ti­fied as one Ran­jit Jha from Bir­na­gar, a city on In­dia-Nepal bor­der on 24 June in 2013.

The person was re­ceiv­ing a con­sign­ment of Rs 30 Lakh in FICN which were hid­den in elec­tronic dolls, pi­ano and a cra­dle im­ported from Hong Kong. The con­sign­ment was com­ing from Pak­istan via Hong Kong and landed in Nepal through pri­vate air­ways and was set to head to Bi­har’s Moti­hari.

The Direc­torate of Rev­enue In­tel­li­gence (DRI) had cap­tured a con­sign­ment in courier ser­vice which was ad­dressed to a Delhi restau­rant. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors of DRI found Rs 30 Lakh in FICN in­side the pack which sent from Xin­jiang, a news­pa­per re­port said.

The In­dian cap­i­tal of FICN

You have to spend barely an hour to get a bunch of FICN from sta­tion­ary shops or you may even place the or­der sit­ting in ho­tel-at­ten­dants to get hold of the things at room – get­ting fake cur­rency notes are that much easy in Kali­achak – a place in West Ben­gal’s Malda dis­trict, con­sid­ered be­ing In­dia’s fake cur­rency cap­i­tal.

The sleuths of in­ves­ti­ga­tion agen­cies, state po­lice and Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force (BSF) are vig­i­lant over the ar­eas, but still the in­trud­ers across the bor­der from Bangladesh man­aged to en­ter with ex­tremely high qual­ity fake Rs 2000 notes. The po­lice have lodged close to 200 FICN cases, ar­rested around 300 ac­cused and have seized FICN around Rs 2 Crore from this small sin­gle area.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors of­ten present ex­cuses that Malda has been a dif­fi­cult dis­trict to han­dle with es­pe­cially for its large num­ber of un­der­priv­i­leged mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tion. Most of these peo­ple also cross the in­ter­na­tional bor­der to dwell in In­dian ter­ri­to­ries.

“The dis­trict has got 172 Kilo­me­tre bor­der with Bangladesh, most of which is fenced. But there are some gaps too. The na­ture of to­pog­ra­phy and the ter­rain are as such that it is easy to move across the bor­der and dis­ap­pear into the hin­ter­land.” For­mer West Ben­gal DGP Bhupin­der Singh had said in an in­ter­view.

There may be 18-20 vil­lages along­side bor­der where peo­ple car­ries thing from

BANGLADESH BOR­DER The na­ture of to­pog­ra­phy and the ter­rain is as such that it is easy to move across the bor­der and dis­ap­pear into the hin­ter­land.

other side of the bor­der. They took pack­ets of FICN, drugs, arms to the Malda town.

NIA In­spec­tor Gen­eral Alok Mit­tal was also asked by the jour­nal­ists about the coun­ter­feit­ing rack­ets in Malda. He had replied that only 30-40 paisa was dis­trib­uted to the car­rier per FICN of Rs 100. But the rate varies time to time.

The role of D-Com­pany in Pak­istan

In­dia’s in­tel­li­gence agen­cies on a writ­ten com­pi­la­tion of an oral sub­mis­sion be­fore par­lia­ment’s stnd­ing com­mit­tee on fi­nance in 2013 had con­veyed: “Forensic opinion has re­vealed that the notes have been printed on highly so­phis­ti­cated ma­chines in­volv­ing huge cap­i­tal in­vest­ment. The pulp found to be 100 per cent rag in the FICN which is nor­mally used in mak­ing cur­rency pa­pers. The per­fec­tion of win­dow and wa­ter­mark for­mu­la­tion in­di­cates the man­u­fac­ture of FICN pa­per on reg­u­lar cur­rency mak­ing ma­chines which can be owned by a coun­try or state.”

The re­port had fur­ther stated: “Most of the piv­otal pa­ram­e­ters of the pa­per like GSM (Grams per Square Me­ter. It al­lows the print buy­ers and print sup­pli­ers to know ex­actly about the qual­ity of pa­per that is be­ing or­dered. The higher the GSM num­ber, the heav­ier the pa­per), Wax Pick Quo­tient, Poly Vinyl Al­co­hol and PH Val­ues were found match­ing with the le­gal ten­der of Pak­istan.”

How­ever, the in­tel­li­gence re­port had also in­di­cated that only Pak­istan is ac­tively in­volved in man­u­fac­tur­ing FICN. Some­time their spy agency uses other coun­try’s lands for trans­port­ing FICN to In­dia.

The Pak-based groups are be­hind the whole op­er­a­tions. There are some prom­i­nent faces that are within the radar of In­dian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies – Subha Bhai, As­lam Choud­hary, Iqbal Kana, Sheikh Safi and Sikan­der who op­er­ates from UAE, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thai­land, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and China, the re­port had men­tioned.

The gang­sters of D-Com­pany like Aftab Batki and Haji Ab­dul­lah have ac­tively in­volved in FICN trade. Lashkare-Tayyeba (LeT), al Badr, HuJI and Da­wood Ibrahim’s D-Com­pany are in­volved in trans­port­ing FICN to In­dia. Mumbai ter­ror at­tack ac­cused David Headley was also be­lieved to have used coun­ter­feit ru­pees worth about Rs 2 Lakh in a trip.

The sil­ver lin­ing

It is only the un­bend­ing at­ti­tude of the Cen­tre against the cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism that can some­what solve the prob­lem. The in­tel­li­gence and law en­force­ment agen­cies are leav­ing no stone un­turned to safe­guard the bor­der ar­eas.

It might be a lit­tle late but In­dia has pro­claimed war against fi­nan­cial ter­ror­ism in a steady man­ner. De­mon­etis­ing higher value notes is just a small step to­wards it which brings out the pos­i­tive and ag­gres­sive at­ti­tude of In­dian gov­ern­ment against coun­ter­feit­ing.

Note­ban and its af­ter ef­fects.

Da­wood Ibrahim Fake notes worth Rs 125.18 crore were seized in In­dia be­tween 2012-14.

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