Bangladesh replaces Pakistan as hub of fake Indian currency
However, Bangladesh is emerging as a source for production and smuggling of fake Rs 2,000 notes, suggest official data.Updated: Sep 12, 2017 07:27 IST
The government’s move to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last November seems to have borne one intended result — end of fake currency, at least in part.
Apparently, the value of illegal notes entering India from Pakistan seems to have come down as production bases of fake currencies in that country have taken a hit. However, Bangladesh is emerging as the main source for production and smuggling of fake Rs 2,000 notes, suggest official data of seizures by the Border Security Force (BSF).
Earlier, fake currency manufactured in Pakistan and Bangladesh was smuggled through 13 frontiers located in the border states of Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya.
While 11 frontiers have witnessed almost a lull in the seizure of fake notes, known formally as FICN (Fake Indian Currency Notes), two frontiers in Assam and West Bengal have seen a spike since January 2017.
Also, the value of fake notes seized by the BSF in the first six months of 2017 (Rs 32 lakh) is lower than that in 2016 when the FICN mainly comprised Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations. It was Rs 2.6 crore from Guwahati and south Bengal frontiers in 2015 and around Rs 1.5 crore in 2016.
Intelligence inputs received by the BSF suggest that while fake note syndicates have not made any major “infrastructural investments” since demonetisation, they are again attempting to gain foothold in India.
An official source said that to match the paper used by India to manufacture new Rs 2,000 notes, Bangladeshi syndicates have started using paper smuggled from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
“The paper coming from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia comes very close to the consistency of the new Rs 2,000 note,” said the official.
The two frontiers — south Bengal and Guwahati — have witnessed an increase in seizures of fake currencies since January this year although the volume tapered during monsoon as the flow of rivers is very high, making it risky for FICN smugglers.
Fake notes worth Rs 1 lakh was seized in January, which went up to Rs 2.96 lakh in February and Rs 4.60 lakh in March. In April, it spiked to Rs 20 lakh, which came down to Rs 6.98 lakh the next month. There was a lull in July but the BSF’s 24 battalion recovered fake currency notes worth Rs 5.20 lakh in a single operation in Malda sector on August 22.
“The good news in all of this is that FICN syndicates are manufacturing the notes through offset printing machines as opposed to the past where cotton rag material was being used to produce the fake notes. Smugglers had been using the same to produce the notes through highly sophisticated machinery which is sold only to sovereign governments. This is not happening anymore,” said a senior BSF official.