MUMBAI: Maharashtra seems to be emerging as a hub for fake currency in the country. Out of the `96 crore of fake currency seizures till October last year in the country, `81 crore is from Maharashtra alone.
The worst part is that only around `24-crore worth fake currency was caught by police officials, while the rest was found in banking transactions, implying that a whopping `57 crore managed to escape scrutiny of the law enforcement agencies and got circulated in the system before they were detected.
In fact, Maharashtra was the only state in 2011 that registered detection of fake currencies in double digits. Delhi, which was second to Maharashtra, had a detection of `3.69 crore for the same period. While haul of fake currencies for the same period in Andhra Pradesh was `1.91 crore and `1.32 crore in Tamil Nadu. Officials have strong evidence to believe that what is being detected is merely a fraction of fake currency in circulation in the country.
“Fake currencies are in circulation in all the states. The reason Maharashtra is on the top could be due to stringent scrutiny of currencies at the banks and seizures by the police. Maharashtra also tops the maximum number of FIRs registered in fake currency cases,” said a senior police official.
In 2011, the Mumbai police have booked 46 cases of fake Indian currencies, resulting in the seizure of `74 lakh fake currencies. While in rest of Maharashtra, 400 cases of fake currencies cases were lodged, in which `23 crore were seized.
The problem of fake currency has been compounded by the fact that it is extensively used to fund terrorist activities in the country. In 2011, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) seized `40 lakh in counterfeit notes. In November last year, the ATS charged three suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives - Haroon Rashid Abdul Hamid Naik, Asrar Ahmed Abdul Hamid Taylor and Azhar-Ul Islam Mohammed Ibrahim Sidhhiqui- for possession of fake Indian currency. The chargesheet was significant as it postulated that the fake currencies were being printed on sophisticated machinery that could be only procured by a foreign state, without naming Pakistan.