Intelligence and security forces including the Border Security Force and the National Investigation Agency have seized several fake Rs 2,000 notes that they believe came from outside India, just three months after they were introduced following the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, The Indian Express reported on Monday. The fake notes are being manufactured in Pakistan and being pushed to India through its border with Bangladesh, according to the report.
While the first such seizures of the fake notes were recorded on January 22 and February 4, the latest seizure were reported on February 8 from Murshidabad in West Bengal. On that occasion, a man from the state’s Malda district was arrested for carrying 40 fake Rs 2,000 notes. Azizur Rahman told investigators that the notes were printed in Pakistan with the help of the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence, according to officials who spoke to the daily. The officials further said that smugglers were being asked to pay between Rs 400-Rs 600 in genuine currency for each fake Rs 2,000 note.
A study by investigators also found that at least 11 of the 17 security features on the new notes had been successfully replicated by counterfeiters. The replicated features reportedly include a transparent area on the note, its watermark, the emblem of the Ashoka Pillar and the Reserve Bank of India’ guarantee clause. An official told the Express that the quality of fake notes was improving steadily. “Last month, the fake Indian currency note smugglers pushed some sample notes...in small numbers to check their feasibility for circulation. We fear that they will be seen in the market very soon,” the official said.
Separately, an official from the Securities Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited said the security features in the new notes were similar to the ones on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. “There was no time to introduce additional security features in the remonetised Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes as the decision was taken only five months ago,” the unidentified SPMCIL official said.
On November 8, Modi had announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would no longer be legal tender. He had said the move was taken to fight corruption, black money and counterfeiting. The scrapping of old notes led to severe cash cruch in the country. Modi had asked for time till December 30 for the situation to get back to normal.