Official data of seizures by the Border Security Force suggest that production bases of fake currencies in Pakistan have taken a hit, with the value of illegal notes entering India from the coming down post-demonetisation. However, Bangladesh is emerging as the main source for production and smuggling of fake Rs 2,000 notes, a media report citing data of BSF seizures has said.
As per the Hindustan Times report, 11 of the thirteen frontiers used to smuggle fake currency manufactured in Pakistan and Bangladesh have witnessed a lull in the seizure of fake notes, known formally as FICN (Fake Indian Currency Notes). On the other hand, two frontiers in Assam and West Bengal have seen a spike since January 2017.
In terms of the value of fake notes seized by the BSF, the first six months of 2017 have seen seizures worth Rs 32 lakh which is lower than where it stood 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, the report said.
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.
The report, citing intelligence inputs received by the BSF, says fake note syndicates are attempting to regain a foothold in India, with Bangladeshi fake note syndicates have started using paper smuggled from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to to manufacture fake Rs 2,000 notes.
“The paper coming from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia comes very close to the consistency of the new Rs 2,000 note,” the report quoted an official source as saying.
The report further states that two frontiers of south Bengal and Guwahati have witnessed an increase in seizures of fake currencies since January this year although the volume tapered during monsoon when the flow of water in rivers is high.
As per the report, BSF seized fake notes worth Rs 1 lakh 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, but 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.
While the seizures from frontiers that give access to Bangladeshi fake note syndicates do suggest a cause for worry – considering that the new notes introduced by the government were said to be replication-proof – officials say the bright side is that fake currency syndicates are manufacturing notes through offset printing machines as opposed to the past where cotton rag material was being used to produce the fake notes.
This, they said, wasn’t happening longer, making it easier for officials to spot and seize fake currency.