A consignment of Fake Indian Currency Notes intercepted at the Bangladesh border recently revealed that counterfeiters have accurately duplicated 50% of the security features of the new Rs 2000 currency note released post demonetisation.
Between December 2016 and January 2017, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seized four illegal consignments of Rs 2000 notes from areas near Malda district, causing intelligence agencies and security forces to increase vigilance.
A senior security official revealed that the copied notes have perfect geometric patterns and colour scheme on both observe (front) and reserve (back) side, similar to the real Rs 2000 notes. “The exclusive pattern of the Rs 2000 currency has also been replicated expertly. Unlike fake notes seized elsewhere, these have been printed using sophisticated dyes and are not scanned or photocopied,” added the official.
The RBI lists 17 security features, out of which more than half have been replicated. Genuine notes have four features on the reverse side, and 13 features on the observe side including two for the visually impaired.
The fake Rs 2000 currency notes have the following features replicated:
- Observe side – The see-through area, the denominational numeral in Devnagari, guarantee clause with RBI Governor’s signature, and watermark.
- Reverse side – All four features – a motif of Chandrayaan, language panel, Swachh Bharat logo and year of printing – have been copied.
As per experts, the only shortcomings of the fake notes are the paper quality and the darker shade of magenta dye, which does not match the original notes. The features for visually impaired have not been copied accurately, hence making them unusable.
However, authorities remain concerned as more than half of the features have been copied with accuracy in just three months, and they fear that more counterfeit notes will be smuggled in.
Mohammad Ashraful and Ripon Sheikh from Malda district were arrested with fake notes earlier this month by the BSF and the NIA.
Some Rs 500 currency notes have also been discovered where the printing is poor, but the quality of paper and colour are a close match to the original.
In a span of three years from 2013 to 2016, Fake Indian Currency Notes with a face value of Rs 6.6 crore were seized.
The Logical Indian take
There are three aspects to the FICN problem – (a) domestic printing (b) smuggling and (c) circulation.
Drug cartels in China and Pakistan’s military spy agency ISI have been long suspected of pushing counterfeit currency into the country. A study by Indian Statistical Institute revealed that as many as 250 out of 10 lakh notes in circulation are fake.
In India’s fake currency capital – Malda – counterfeit currency trade is done through the 150km fenced border that the West Bengal district has with Bangladesh.
Only time will tell if the Government’s decision of demonetization to curb black money was fruitful. However, India’s fight against fake currency is far more complicated, demanding stronger institutional action of the state. The country needs more capable national and international legal framework, legal empowerment of India’s intelligence and enforcement agencies, adequate administrative measures and a strong resolve to fight the menace.