While the Indian Twenty20 league may be another name for infamy with dark allegations of match fixing, illegal betting and underworld linkages, it is seen as boom time for Pakistan-based operatives to inject huge amounts of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) into India through illegal betting syndicates and bookies.
“There is increasing evidence of the league being targeted by these racketeers. As in the past few seasons, this time too FICN networks were increasingly active.
“The main Indian bookies in the illegal betting syndicates get fake currency from across the border and systematically inject it while making payments for betting,” a top government official told the Hindustan Times.
Events under scanner
Government sources believe international events where large crowds gather, like the India International Trade Fair for instance, are also considered happy hunting ground for fake currency networks.
“The Rs. 500 denomination currency note is by far the most widely circulated, followed by the Rs. 100 note and then the Rs. 1000 note,” the official added.
Reports also say those involved in the racket are adopting new methods to inject the notes, including couriering them indirectly through a third country, like a Pakistan-Hong Kong-Kathmandu route.
There are also reports that Pakistan-based operatives are exchanging FICN at money exchange counters in cities with substantial Indian population like Dubai and Ipoh in Malaysia.
Cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are increasingly becoming transit points as most operatives are using these airports to travel to Bangladesh and India. “This is also substantiated by frequent seizures of FICN at Dhaka International airport,” the official said.
With FICN with a face value of Rs. 59 crore seized in 2012, the Hindustan Times had reported how it was just a ‘tip of the iceberg’ and that many seizures were not even reported.
Another serious issue is the ‘near perfect’ quality of these notes. “They are so good only top experts can spot the difference,” the official said.
The government is taking urgent measures and is looking to add or improve the seven security features on currency notes.
“These measures after being approved by the Reserve of India are now being considered by the economic affairs department of the finance ministry,” the official added.