Commercial banks need to take guard. Reason: Even a single counterfeit banknote dispensed through their ATMs will put them on the RBI’s list of banks 'circulating counterfeit notes’.
An RBI master circular numbering RBI/2006-07/121 DCM (FNVD) No. G 48/16.01.01/2006-07 had notified: ‘Disbursement of counterfeit notes through the ATMs would be treated as an attempt to circulate the counterfeit notes by the bank concerned’.
Further, bank branches/currency chests/treasuries are expected to detect counterfeit bank notes at their end and not to include them in the remittances sent to RBI offices. RBI may consider the option of imposing penalty for the value of the counterfeit notes detected in the remittances received from currency chests from the date of last removal of soiled notes from them.
In its guidelines for banks on handling cases where counterfeit banknotes are received at the cash counters it stated that counterfeit banknotes detected in cash received by the branch shall be forwarded to the local police for investigation by filing an FIR.
It said that a copy of FIR shall be sent to the forged (counterfeit) banknote vigilance cell at the head office of the bank (only in case of banks) and in the case of treasury, it should be sent to the issue office concerned of RBI. The particulars such as name, address of the tenderer and his/her statement as to how the said banknote came into his/her possession shall also be forwarded to the police authorities. If the counterfeit banknotes are sent to the police by insured post, acknowledgement of receipt thereof by the police should be invariably obtained and kept on record, it added. The RBI said that in case of any difficulty faced by the offices/branches due to reluctance of the police to accept FIRs, the matter might be sorted out in consultation with the nodal officer of the state concerned.
The definition of ‘counterfeiting’ in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) covers currency notes issued by a foreign government authority as well. The data on detection of counterfeit Indian banknotes at bank branches and treasuries should be included in the monthly returns forwarded to the RBI Issue Offices in the prescribed format, it added.