NEW DELHI: The NIA’s country-wide crackdown on fake currency racketeers reveals Pakistan’s increased involvement in printing and circulating high-quality Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) in India with the twin objectives of destabilising the economy and raising funds for terror activities.
Investigations have confirmed the Home Ministry’s suspicion that the ‘state’ actors in Pakistan (the ISI) are involved in printing high-quality FICN using sophisticated machinery. Later it employs state machinery to transport the counterfeit currencies through air to countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UAE and Nepal. From these countries, the currency notes are smuggled into India, either through porous borders or through air.
The Home Ministry recently proposed to include FICN offence in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, which entails more stringent provisions, due to the involvement of ‘state’ actors in such activities. Till now, only terrorist organisations and people associated with them were covered under the Act.
Statistics available with the Ministry corroborates the grave threat over the issue. In the last few years, there has been sharp increase in the availability of very high-quality FICN in the market. At times, even machines fail to detect these fakes. In 2010-11, FICN of `100 crore was seized. In 2009-10, the seizure figures were only about `27 crore.
NIA’s investigation revealed that the kingpin of the racket, Morjen Hussain, a West Bengal resident, was using a satellite phone to coordinate the entire operations with his counterparts in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The FICN recovered from the gang revealed that it was printed in Pakistan and was smuggled into Bangladesh through air. From Bangladesh, the currency notes, stashed in airbags were thrown across the barbed wire along the border, as soon as BSF (Border Security Force) patrol had crossed a particular point.
Hussain’s gang members used to collect these bags and then these were circulated in different cities. His men used to travel to different cities in the garb of labourers seeking jobs and while employed as workers, the gang members circulate the FICN.