Check that Rs 500 note in your wallet. The police say ‘quality’ counterfeits of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are being circulated in huge numbers in the city.
A senior officer told HT that the police have, for the first time, found a major fake currency network operating in Delhi. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is thought to be behind India’s fake currency problem, with established networks — and several busts — in UP and Haryana.
A large number of middlemen working for the counterfeiters have been passing on fake currency to unsuspecting shopkeepers who inadvertently circulate it further, the officer said.
On July 17, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell caught two alleged ISI agents with fake Rs-1,000 notes worth Rs 19 lakh at Lajpat Nagar. The officer said the police are on the lookout for two Delhi-based businessmen said to be circulating counterfeit notes in bulk in the city. Most of this year’s seizures have been linked to middlemen in UP and Haryana.
Between 2004 and 2006, fake currency worth Rs 90 lakh was seized; this year, the police have already recovered counterfeit notes worth Rs 81 lakh.
Shopkeepers are an obvious target for counterfeiters. Rajendra Sharma, a grocery shop owner at Chirag Dilli in south Delhi, told the police that since April, a woman has been visiting his shop on the fourth of every month. "She would buy goods worth Rs 50-60 but always pay a Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 note," Sharma told HT. "I realised something was wrong when one of my dealers refused to accept the notes. Later, I found the woman had been visiting other shops too."
A juice shop owner at Amar Colony market in south Delhi became suspicious when, last week, two visitors paid him Rs 500 after drinking juice worth Rs 40 and did not even bother to collect the entire balance. Anil Shukla, deputy commissioner of police (south), said, "They asked the shopkeeper to pay whatever ready cash he had. We caught the two men and recovered fake Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 1.45 lakh from them."