Post demonetisation, Bengal’s Malda back as nation’s fake currency hub | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Post demonetisation, Bengal’s Malda back as nation’s fake currency hub

The BSF has seized counterfeit notes with face value of Rs 2.96 lakh in the north Bengal district since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the surprise announcement of culling 86% of the currency in circulation on November 8 last year.

kolkata Updated: Mar 03, 2017 07:34 IST
Sreyasi Pal
The fake notes that were seized from a youth in Malda on Sunday evening. BSF officers said the quality of the counterfeit notes was getting better and better.
The fake notes that were seized from a youth in Malda on Sunday evening. BSF officers said the quality of the counterfeit notes was getting better and better.(HT Photo)

West Bengal’s Malda district has reclaimed its dubious distinction of being the nation’s fake notes hub just about 100 days after the Centre demonetised high-value banknotes to purge the economy of “black money” and counterfeit bills.

The Border Security Force (BSF), guarding the Indo-Bangladesh border, arrested a 32-year old youth, identified as Shariful Shah, with 48 fake notes of Rs 2,000 denomination on Sunday.

The BSF has seized counterfeit notes with face value of Rs 2.96 lakh in the north Bengal district since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the surprise announcement of culling 86% of the currency in circulation on November 8 last year.

This figure does not include the seizure made by state police and central agencies such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

BSF officers said Sunday’s catch was the highest in Bengal since the demonetisation, and will probably be the highest in the country as well. But the volume of the smuggled notes is not their only concern.

“The quality of the seized notes is getting better and better. The fake notes Shariful was carrying were far better than those seized by the NIA and the West Bengal police earlier. Almost all the security features are present in the seized FICN,” said an officer.

According to senior BSF officers posted in the district, the frequent seizure of fake notes junked the theory that demonetisation has affected the counterfeit industry.

Malda accounts for almost 80% of the fake currency that comes into India. It shares a border with Bangladesh through which fake currency is smuggled into the country.

On January 23, Baishnabnagar police arrested Ziyaul Sheikh, 15, from Bakhrabad village with a counterfeit note of Rs 2000. On February 4, Digambar Mondal (42), a karmadhayaksha of the Congress-run Kaliachak-III panchayat samiti, was arrested by Baishnabnagar police with two counterfeit Rs 2000 notes.

On February 8, Islampur police of Murshidabad arrested Azizur Rahaman, a resident of Baishnabnagar in Malda, with fake notes totaling Rs 80,000. Six days later NIA sleuths arrested Umar Faruq from Golapganj in Kaliachak with three counterfeit notes of Rs 2,000.

On February 15, BSF personnel seized fakes notes to the tune of Rs 2 lakh near Charianantapur village on the Bangladesh border, but none was arrested as the smugglers managed to escape.

Shariful was arrested on Sunday after the BSF was tipped off that he had entered the district from Nadia to collect a big consignment of fake notes, said a BSF official. Accordingly, the BSF laid a trap.

He had collected the cash and was moving towards the bus stand to board a Nadia-bound bus when he was nabbed.

In 2016, BSF South Bengal Frontier seized fake notes with the face value of Rs 1.47 crore and arrested 19 smugglers.