NIA to probe fake currency case in Bangladesh

Published on Sep 23, 2021 12:21 AM IST

An FIR recently registered at Paltan Model police station by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police in connection with the case has already been taken over by the NIA.

The fake currency operation in Dhaka is suspected to be controlled from Pakistan.
The fake currency operation in Dhaka is suspected to be controlled from Pakistan.
ByNeeraj Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case over a sophisticated counterfeit Indian currency smuggling racket running out of Dhaka, laying the ground for the federal agency’s first probe in Bangladesh, people familiar with the development said.

The fake currency operation in Dhaka is suspected to be controlled from Pakistan. The probe, a senior NIA official said, “has been taken up after noticing that a new module was involved in the transportation of very high quality fake Indian currency notes in the denomination of 500 and 2,000”. An NIA team will soon visit Dhaka to interrogate the suspects and find the entire network, the official said.

A 2019 amendment in the NIA Act enables the agency to probe terrorist activities outside India if Indians or Indian interests abroad are targeted. The change in law was patterned on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s powers which empower the US agency to carry out investigations outside the United States.

This will be NIA’s third probe abroad. Last year, the agency took up the investigation into the March 25, 2020 attack on a gurdwara in Kabul, in which 27 Sikh devotees including an Indian national were killed. Its second case was registered in December against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun led Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for organising protests at Indian missions in various countries including the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, etc.

An FIR recently registered at Paltan Model police station by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police in connection with the case has already been taken over by the NIA. The FIR was registered after five people, including two Pakistani nationals, were arrested in Dhaka with fake Indian currency of 46 lakh.

A second NIA official said although India and Bangladesh have a joint task force mechanism to share real-time information on the fake currency smuggling, New Delhi decided to investigate the syndicate on its own to identify the handlers and unearth the larger network. Indian officials believe it will lead them to Islamabad. “The FICN (fake Indian currency notes) produced in Pakistan are sent to Bangladesh by air/sea and then smuggled to India via the porous border. It seems Pakistan is trying to perfect counterfeiting the new 500 and 2,000 denomination notes to destabilize the Indian economy,” said a counterterrorism official, requesting anonymity. He acknowledged that “there has been a gradual improvement in the quality of FICN being seized”.

According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, FICN worth 92 crore was detected and seized across India in 2020.

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