Cops Busted Two Big Fake Currency Rackets In The Last Seven Days. But, For Every Bust, There May Be Millions Of Forged Notes In CirculationAltaf Hussain did not even bother to look at the four Rs-100 notes that he got on Saturday evening from his neighbourhood cigarette seller. The next morning, however, the Nagpada resident realised he should have been more careful. His milkman refused to accept one of the notes. “Yeh note bekar hai, nahin chalega (This note is a fake, no one will accept it),’’ the milkman said.
Hussain is not the only Mumbaikar to have been fooled by forged notes recently. Mumbai Police and state intelligence officials say there has been a sudden spurt in the volume of fake notes in circulation. The “quality of forgery’’ has also improved “remarkably’’ and it is difficult for the untrained eye to tell them from the ones that come out of government mints.
But there is something much more sinister — than you being short-changed — about the current inflow of fake notes. Crime Branch chief Rakesh Maria is sure the masterminds are none other than Pakistan-resident don Dawood Ibrahim and his associate, Aftab Batki. “They are running this business from Pakistan. The duo get fake notes printed and smuggle it into India via Bangladesh. The motive is to destabilise our economy,’’ he said.
“What is happening is basically financial terrorism. Fake notes used to be smuggled in mostly by Pakistani nationals earlier but now it is now down more by Bangladeshis,’’ another official said, giving the instance of an Indian minting machine seized in Bangladesh recently.
“But, once the notes are in India, it is Indians who are entrusted with the task of circulating them,’’ he added.
The Crime Branch on June 19 arrested five fruit sellers and seized fake currency, which could have been worth Rs 8 lakh, from them. All the notes were of Rs-500 and Rs-1,000 denomination. The money, investigations revealed, was sent by someone called Jamal Malik from Bangladesh and the local distributor was to get a huge commission (about 40 per cent of Rs 8 lakh).
Bangladesh’s emergence as the origin of much of the counterfeit now in circulation in India has been helped by the lax border in West Bengal, say officials. Some distributors of fake notes in India got one of their carriers to open an account with a private bank at Habra, a small Bengal town close to the border. He was then asked to deposit the money that he got as change while using the fake notes. The carrier got a commission of 20 per cent on what he “earned’’.
“We arrested two persons who came here from Dubai last year. They were given free tickets to India and the fake notes, ‘amounting’ to Rs 19 lakh, were kept in a refrigerator. The masterminds use the real money they get after circulating the fake notes to pay their employees and purchase weapons,’’ Maria said.
The Times of India, June 26, 2008