Latest craze in Uttar Pradesh: fake currency detectors

September 9th, 2008 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 9 (IANS) With fake currency notes tumbling out of various places in Uttar Pradesh at regular intervals, no one is willing to take a chance. From the mall owner to the common man, everyone is now depending on currency detector equipment to tell the real from the fake.The trend has increased after a counterfeit currency racket in the State Bank of India’s (SBI) Domariyaganj branch came to light July-end.

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) team found fake currency notes nominally worth nearly Rs.30 million (Rs.3 crore) in the currency chest of the bank after scanning it for over 20 days.

The problem, according to sources, however, does not end there, as fake notes have been found in various parts of Uttar Pradesh over the last one year.

As a result, shopkeepers and customers in Lucknow have pushed the panic button. While the owners of showrooms and malls have installed money detector machines, their customers carry special laser torches to check fake currency.

“After the SBI scam came to light, who knows who presents you a fake note. So, we had to install fake currency detection equipment,” Ashutosh Chaddha, owner of a showroom in Lucknow of the clothes brand Peter England, told IANS.

“Though it is Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denomination notes which are usually found to be fake, I check even fifties and hundreds before accepting them.” Chaddha added.

The owner of a Reebok showroom, Shyam Bahl, said that recently a customer handed over two fake Rs.500 denomination notes and he discovered it later.

“We have now installed a machine to detect fake currency,” Bahl said.

Fake currency testing machines can be bought from most electronics goods shops in the state for Rs.1,500 to Rs.4,000.

The machines which have found the maximum takers are made by companies like Methodex System, Godrej and Klick.

Klick’s Marketing Manager Ashwani Sahay told IANS that there had been an increase in the sale of money checking machines.

He said the ultra-violet rays emanating from the machine could help detect fake currency.

But not everyone can afford these machines, and small shopkeepers and roadside vendors have found an ingenious way to detect fake currency - laser torches.

These laser torches can be bought from any electronic shop for Rs.10 to Rs.40.

Rajaul Chaurasia, who runs a public phone booth in Kanpur’s Parade area, said: “I always check a note with a laser torch before keeping it”.

The equipment available at banks, however, is much more expensive. The currency detectors installed at various banks cost as much as Rs.1.5 million to Rs.7.5 million.

SBI’s chief general manager for the Lucknow region, Shiv Kumar, told IANS that as many as 300 branches of the bank with currency chests are installed with equipment which could check notes worth Rs.5 million.

Meanwhile, an official of the ICICI Bank revealed they found more people withdrawing money through cheques than ATMs after the scam came to light.

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