Investigative Agencies in India are alarmed by the infiltration of fake currency notes especially in South India. These notes are flooding in the country and there is no difference between the real notes. Educated youths from Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu are involved as couriers. The countries which lie in the East of India like Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia are not exempt as these notes are being pumped in through air, land and sea and pose a serious issue to debacle our economy.
The currency note of Rs 500 is mostly forged. It was easier to detect fraud earlier however; as these forgers have attained high level of sophistication it is difficult to detect such notes. As per RBI (Reserve Bank of India) forged notes can be recognized as the notes are thick and not crisp. If the note is photocopied the color and print look faded, intalagio would be missing in counterfeit notes and the security band would be rough with irregular number panel and smaller digits. RBI has also apprised banks of seizure of fake notes of Rs 1,000 face value in the two series 2QA and 8AC. Today, forged notes Vigilance Cells are present in the head offices of all banks and every layman is informed about such notes via print and electronic media. CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has also appointed a nodal agency to monitor investigation of such fake notes.
Fake notes new road to terrorism?
Introduction of such notes in the country is also being termed as economic subversion. Fake notes racket is being carried out by using the network of underworld kingpin not only in India but also in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal in close association with different terror outfits. At the political front there is Pakistan sponsored terrorism and in the economic front there is a supply of fake Indian currency notes inside the Indian borders to damage the Indian economy. Intelligence officials quote, that ISI uses terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohhammad and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Isalm to smuggle and circulate counterfeit notes in India. States like J&K, Punjab, and Rajasthan along with West Bengal make entry points for such acts. Uttar Pradesh border with Nepal is another route for the inflow of currency. Indian laborers who work in Dubai are prime targets who deliver cargo to India and are in need of money to purchase return tickets.
Now, spreading like a virus in India the ATM’s are also not safe and bank’s staff involvement cannot be fully denied. The value of such currency has gone up by 183.14 per cent in the last one year and the value of fake notes detected in the year stood at Rs 15.57 crores as compared to Rs 5.49 crores last year. Only, a small percentage of counterfeit currency is seized and an estimate of two lakh fake notes is in circulation in the country.
It is utmost important that fake notes are detected as soon as they enter the banking channel. It is said that the best way to control circulation of these notes is to stop the process of manufacturing currency paper and ink. The finance ministry has been asked to set up a new 12,000 MT capacity paper mill in India in collaboration with leading foreign paper manufacturers. RBI is also looking out for various measures to replace the paper notes by “polymer notes” along with Australia and a pilot project has to be initiated. The notes would be more durable and will have a protective coating to prevent absorption from moisture.
To detect fake notes banks have been asked to install note sorting machines (NSM’s) at bank branches to detect counterfeit notes. RBI committee constantly upgrades security features on currency and they believe that the masses should be educated on various security features. Normally, these notes do not reach the banks as they normally return the fake notes due to the fear of arrest. Moreover, banks are planning to conduct audits and frame contingency plans to combat natural calamities to terrorist activities. Also, the circulation of these notes destabilizes the country’s economy and encourages terrorist activities.
Thus, the priorities would be: to ensure that fake notes are promptly detected, security features to be constantly upgraded, education amongst the public, cash storage and handling to be strengthened and filing FIR by banks in case fake note are found.