KOLKATA: There is evidence that fake currency presses beyond India are catching up with the post-demonetisation scenario in India. Border Security Force (BSF) guards on the Indo-Bangladesh border on Sunday evening caught up with a man who was boarding a bus on National Highway 34 in the Baishnabnagar area of Malda, and found a cache of 48 fake Indian currency notes (FICN) of Rs 2,000 denomination on him.
The face value is not a lot, Rs 96,000, but this was the second such catch in the past two weeks. Last week, BSF seized a packet of fake currency notes containing 100 notes of Rs 2,000 – face value Rs 2 lakh -- from a mango orchard, also in Malda.
The town of Malda is a major node of the international fake currency racket. In 2016, the BSF battalion guarding the international border in south Bengal seized FICN with a face value of Rs.1,47,70,500 besides apprehending 19 racketeers.
The demonetization of India’s Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes temporarily disrupted the FICN supply chain, but the two seizures in the past two weeks are proof that the forgers have tweaked their systems to produce India’s new currency, mainly the pink Rs 2000 note.
What surprised the BSF personnel who caught the man trying to get into a bus was the quality of the Rs 2000 notes in his possession. "The quality is better than what was seized along the India-Bangladesh International Border last week," a BSF source said.
The consignment that was intercepted at a mango orchard in Malda last week was found to have replicated at least 8-9 features out of the total 17 on India’s new currency. But BSF sources then said the quality of the paper used was below par.
India has a 4000 km long border with Bangladesh separating West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura from the neighbouring country.About 220 km of the border passes through Malda district in West Bengal. Only about 150 km is fenced, the rest being unmarked. Even in the fenced stretches of the border, fake currency rackets thrive in Malda, with the town of Kaliachawk as its epicenter. Often fake currency bundles are flung over the fence into India.