Fake notes, higher quantity and better quality

FP

Counterfeit notes have been circulating faster than ever, if seizures made are an indication. A report each by the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau and the Intelligence Bureau also notes the high quality of counterfeits, the suspected overseas sources as well as the emergence of local manufacturing units, and the use of international courier services.

The reports record a jump of more than Rs 14 crore — from Rs 17.59 crore to Rs 32.13 crore — in fake Indian currency notes (FICN) seized, the comparison being between January-June 2011 and the corresponding period this year. Seizures of Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes have gone up 47.7 per cent, 105 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively.

In September, three inter-state fake currency networks were busted by the IB and Bihar police. The Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes were close to perfection; their visual quality was assessed at 80 per cent of a genuine note. They had "RBI" and "Bharat" printed on the security thread, two features generally absent in counterfeits. The only two features missing were raised printing and optically variable ink.

Reports from the RBI show many seizures have been from banks and sometimes from the RBI itself. Of the total seizure in the first half of this year, the RBI accounts for Rs 10.47 crore more than police and other agencies do. It is a measure of the high quality of the notes that they have been penetrating banking channels.

IB reports in the past as well as now have blamed Pakistan's state machinery for manufacturing the FICN — the seized notes' chemical features match those of Pakistan's currency.

Sophisticated printing equipment seized from Delhi and Tamil Nadu has been another concern. "The seizure reports of FICN along with printing accessories indicate that the FICN racketeers are also printing FICN locally," says the CEIB report.

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