Fake cur­rency net­work in­tact

But foren­sic re­ports say notes are of poor qual­ity, se­cu­rity fea­tures not copied

The Hindu - - NEWS - Vi­jaita Singh

Two years after de­mon­eti­sa­tion, the fake cur­rency notes seized so far are not of a high qual­ity, a probe by the Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) has found.

An­other Home Min­istry of­fi­cial said the net­work of same fake cur­rency op­er­a­tors was still in­tact as two years ago, that pushed fake notes from the Bangladesh bor­der. But there was not much ev­i­dence to link it to Pak­istan yet. A rea­son cited by the govern­ment for scrap­ping ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes in 2016 was to wipe out fake notes.

In­dia had ac­cused Pak­istan’s In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence (ISI) of print­ing high­qual­ity fake notes and chan­nelling it into In­dia. Agen­cies sus­pected that cer­tain se­cu­rity fea­tures of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes were com­pro­mised as the sup­plier of raw cur­rency notes, ink and sil­ver thread was same for In­dia and Pak­istan.

“The fake notes seized re­cently are of poor qual­ity, and look like pho­to­copies in most cases. It seems Pak­istan has not been able to copy the se­cu­rity fea­tures yet. The car­ri­ers and the re­ceivers have links to Bangladesh, not Pak­istan. Most ar­rests were made from Malda in West Ben­gal, and some cases reg­is­tered in Ker­ala, Kar­nataka and Gu­jarat. Pak­istan is us­ing Bangladesh as a tran­sit to push in the fake notes,” said an NIA of­fi­cial.

In­tel­li­gence shar­ing

The NIA and the Rapid Ac­tion Bat­tal­ion (RAB), the anti-crime and anti-ter­ror unit of Bangladesh, signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) in 2015, to share in­tel­li­gence on fake notes and other ter­ror­ist mod­ules in real time.

The NIA reg­is­tered at least 13 cases re­lated to the seizure of fake cur­rency in the past two years, but could not in­voke the pro­vi­sions un­der the strin­gent Un­law­ful Ac­tiv­i­ties (Pre­ven­tion) Act, 1967, (UAPA) be­cause of the in­fe­rior qual­ity of the fakes seized. By norms, the UAPA can be in­voked against the ac­cused only if the notes are of high qual­ity. In all the cases, the foren­sic re­port ruled out that the notes were of a fine qual­ity and that any of the se­cu­rity fea­tures had been com­pro­mised.

Ac­cord­ing to an NIA of­fi­cial, the agency passed on in­for­ma­tion to the lo­cal po­lice in many cases, which led to the ar­rests. The po­lice book the ac­cused un­der Sec­tions 489B and 489C (pos­ses­sion of forged or coun­ter­feit cur­rency notes, pun­ish­able by life im­pris­on­ment) of the In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC), which is then taken over by the NIA.

“Since Sec­tion 498B and Sec­tion 489C of the IPC are sched­uled of­fences, the NIA can in­ves­ti­gate such cases,” the of­fi­cial said.

High face value

Though there was no def­i­nite ac­count of the num­ber of fake notes in cir­cu­la­tion with the govern­ment when de­mon­eti­sa­tion was an­nounced, a study done by the In­dian Sta­tis­ti­cal In­sti­tute (ISI), Kolkata, in 2015, had said that at any given point of time, fake notes of ₹400 crore face value were in cir­cu­la­tion.

The of­fi­cial said the im­pact of fake notes on the econ­omy could only be com­puted if it en­tered the bank­ing sys­tem. In the two years be­fore de­mon­eti­sa­tion was an­nounced, the NIA reg­is­tered 25 cases of fake cur­rency notes and 26 per­sons were con­victed in three cases.

SHIV KU­MAR PUSHPAKAR ■

Poor im­prints: Fake cur­rency with face value of ₹5.5 lakh seized in New Delhi last De­cem­ber.

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