Monday, August 27, 2012

Innovation marks criminal enterprise

Mateen Hafeez & Sanjeev Shivadekar | TNN

Mumbai: Circulating fake currency notes (FCNs) in India, as a form of financial terrorism, is kept alive by periodic changes in routes, hubs and modus operandi.

    Once, the most notorious routes for smuggling fake currency into India were the Bangladesh-Kolkata (via the North 24 Parganas), Nepal-Gorakhpur and Nepal-Bihar routes. But now, Jharkhand’s Sahibganj district has emerged as the main landing spot for fake notes
sent from across the border. 

    Police sources said Birganj, the biggest town in Nepal’s Terai region, was earlier the main transit point for almost all fake currency entering India, with the Pakistani embassy in Kathmandu suspected to be the nerve centre of the operation. It was suspected that a senior ISI officer working in the embassy’s education department, K Mehmood, ran the network with the help of another ISI officer, Jamil Alam. Two other major routes were through Beherwa village and from Birganj to Biratnagar, all lying on the
Indo-Nepalese border.
    “Due to India and Nepal agreeing to fight the menace together, printers are now using Jharkhand as the transit point. There are allegations that the police in that state are lenient towards the accused,” said a police officer from Mumbai.
    The newest hub for the FCN racket that seems to be emerging is Maharashtra. “Last year, the state police arrested 105 people in connection with fake currency cases. A colour printer was seized during one of the raids in Beed district,” home minister R R Patil told the legislative council earlier this year.
    Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy admitted that fake currency cases were on the rise. But he attributed this to greater vigilance by the police and other law enforcing agencies. “Much of the fake currency is smuggled from across the border. Pakistan is a major player when it comes to pumping counterfeit notes into India. They are circulated especially in Mumbai and the other metro cities with the aim to destabilize the country’s economy,” he said. 
The Times of India, August 27, 2012

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