Fake cur­rency pro­duc­ers have field day

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ra­jesh Ahuja and Sreyasi Pal let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Fake `2,000 bills are en­ter­ing In­dia through Bangladesh, three months af­ter the newly minted ban­knote was in­tro­duced as an up­shot of the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment’s de­mon­eti­sa­tion drive to fight cor­rup­tion, coun­ter­feit­ing and ter­ror­ist fund­ing.

But mul­ti­ple con­fis­ca­tions of fake `2,000 notes over the past three weeks have un­der­mined the shock re­call of 500- and 1,000-rupee notes last Novem­ber, wip­ing out 86% of the money in cir­cu­la­tion in a cash-driven econ­omy. The de­mon­eti­sa­tion ex­er­cise has been called a water­shed for a coun­try sad­dled with coun­ter­feit­ers push­ing mil­lions of fake notes into the In­dian econ­omy from Pak­istan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Ter­ror­ists and gov­ern­ment hos­tile to In­dia use the bo­gus cash to weaken the econ­omy. The lat­est at­tempts to restart the vi­cious cy­cle af­ter the ban have set off alarm bells in the se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment.

On Fe­bru­ary 14, se­cu­rity forces foiled an at­tempt to smug­gle a con­sign­ment on the Indo-Bangladesh bor­der. This was the big­gest in a se­ries of at­tempts over a short span of time. A BSF pa­trol seized a bun­dle of 100 coun­ter­feit notes that was thrown across the fence for “mis­cre­ants” wait­ing on the In­dian side. The crim­i­nals es­caped, leav­ing be­hind the bun­dle. “Our en­e­mies across the bor­der will not stop both­er­ing us. They will con­tinue to poi­son our econ­omy … push­ing fake notes is the best method to do it. It was just a mat­ter of time that they copied the new notes,” said Arun Chaud­hary, for­mer In­tel­li­gence Bureau spe­cial di­rec­tor and for­mer chief of Sashas­tra Seema Bal that guards the Indo-Nepal bor­der.

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