Fake currency having a face value of almost Rs 20 crore has been seized in the last three years from different parts of the country, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
Minister Shivraj Patil said the menace was not only due to a foreign country, but people within were also involved in the racket.
When Shiv Sena member Anant Geete referred to media reports and said that the government mint of a neighbouring nation was being used for printing counterfeit Indian notes, he asked the member to take responsibility for his comments saying if he did, the government would raise the matter strongly with the other nation.
This led to protests from the BJP and Shiv Sena benches, with Geete asking how could be take responsibility for a media report. "Then the government should say the report is untrue," the MP said.
To this, Patil said, "You have made a very serious charge and if a member does his own investigation and takes responsibility for his statement, government will take it up".
He said statements made on the floor of the House should not affect bilateral relations.
Several steps were being taken by the Finance Ministry to check the menace of counterfeit currency with a panel suggesting changing of the ink, the design and the use of sophisticated equipment to check the genuineness of the currency, he said.
Patil said counterfeit currency recovered and seized in 2003 had a face value of Rs 5.76 crore, Rs 7.52 crore in 2004 and Rs 6.93 crore in 2005. As many as 2,326, 2,441 and 2,607 persons were arrested in the three years respectively.
Some members also raised the issue of Nepali and Bhutanese currency circulating in parts of Bihar and West Bengal.