Uttar Pradesh turning into major fake currency hub

July 30th, 2008 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rajat Rai
Lucknow, July 30 (IANS) More than Rs.2 million worth fake Indian currency notes seized during the past week in two incidents and half-a-dozen people arrested in this connection — Uttar Pradesh appears turning into a major fake currency hub in the country. The Special Task Force (STF) of the UP police Tuesday arrested a person from Siddharthnagar district, bordering Nepal, and recovered fake currency notes of Rs.500,000 from him.

Later, after interrogating Abid, as he identified himself, the cops also arrested a cashier of the State Bank of India posted at the Dumariyaganj branch in the district.

“Abid confessed to circulating the fake notes in the market with the help of the cashier, Sudhakar Tripathi. We also recovered nearly Rs.700,000 from Tripathi’s house and we are yet to verify whether the notes are fake or genuine,” STF senior superintendent of police Amitabh Yash told IANS.

In a similar catch last week, Lucknow police arrested four persons and recovered counterfeit Indian currency worth Rs.1.6 million from them.

“The criminals were part of an inter-state gang and, during interrogation, they confessed to bringing the notes from Nepal and Bangladesh and distributing them further in neighbouring states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh,” Mahanagar Circle Officer Rahul Srivastava claimed.

Over two dozen such cases have been reported so far this year in UP and, according to the statistics of the UP Police, the state topped the country in the number of cases registered in 2007 in connection with fake Indian currency.

According to the data, nearly 300 cases were registered and almost an equal number of criminals arrested from as many as 50 of the total 70 districts in UP last year.

The figures also indicate a particular ‘crescent’ of districts spreading across the western and eastern boundaries of the state, clearly showing them to be the epicentre of fake currency activities.

“These districts provide a porous border for fake notes to travel inside UP and further move to other states through these bordering districts,” a senior IPS official told IANS.

According to records, the maximum number of cases last year were registered in Aligarh district (nine), followed by Ghaziabad (eight) and Ghazipur (eight). They were followed by Meerut (seven), Gorakhpur (seven), Agra (six), Banda (six), Mainpuri (five) and Azamgarh (five).

“Majority of the cases were lodged by banks as the quality of the fake currency notes was so fine, that only a currency expert could point the odd one out,” said the official.

In western UP, Ghaziabad district shares boundaries with national capital Delhi and has Meerut and Aligarh districts in close proximity. Meanwhile, Agra district shares boundaries with Rajasthan, and Banda proves to be a passage to Madhya Pradesh.

In the east, while Ghazipur shares boundaries with Bihar, Gorakhpur is contiguous to neighbouring Nepal. And, according to the cops, it is via Nepal that the high quality, imported fake currency notes enter India.

“Then, via small bordering districts like Ghazipur, Azamgarh, Banda, Mainpuri, and Aligarh, the fake currency notes are further moved towards Delhi and other neighbouring states,” said an official of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).

“Most of the recoveries in the state comprise these high quality notes and it is very difficult, even for an expert, to ascertain that they are fake, because of their fine quality,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Lucknow, Akhil Kumar, earlier posted with the Special Task Force (STF) and an expert in such cases, informed IANS.

The cops also have a strong belief that these notes are manufactured in Pakistan and are infiltrated into India by the Inter Services Intelligence.

There is also a second category of fake notes — duplicated locally and easily identifiable as they are of very poor quality.

“These are generally made by small timers… in most of the cases, a computer expert is also part of the gang. The notes are prepared using a computer and a scanner and they can be easily distinguished by touch and its appearance,” said Kumar.

Meanwhile, the EOW, which is also the nodal agency for keeping surveillance on this menace, keeps updating district police and administrative officers about the recent trends to help them fight the crime.

“We conduct regular coordination meetings with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to keep ourselves updated with the recent changes introduced in the original currency notes. These provide us with guiding pointers to keep tabs on this crime. Besides, the bordering districts are constantly on the radar of various security agencies,” informed R.S. Dhillon, Additional Director General of Police, EOW.

The pointers include the changes made in the currency notes, serial numbers of the notes in circulation in various states, trend of serial numbers of fake notes seized in various states of the country and the future changes to be made in the currency notes to check counterfeiting.

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