As many as 8,34,947 Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) worth more than Rs 92 crore were seized in 2020, according to the Crime in India 2020 report by the National Crime Records Bureau. This is an increase of 190.5 percent in volume from 2,87,404 notes worth over Rs 25 crore seized in 2019. In terms of value, the seizure was 3.6 times higher over a year.
This significant increase in seizure of counterfeit notes through the pandemic-hit year led to 385 cases involving 633 accused being registered.
The denominationsFake notes of Rs 1,000 were the most (38 percent) seized denominations, followed by Rs 2,000 (29 percent) and the new Rs 500 note (25 percent). In terms of value, Rs 2,000 notes accounted for 53 percent of the total seizure, followed by Rs 1,000 (35 percent).
Maharashtra reported the most 6,99,495 FICNs, worth Rs 83.6 crore, seized in 2020. That is 84 percent of the total notes seized in the country by volume and 91 percent by value.
Other States with the most counterfeit notes seized include West Bengal (24,227), Gujarat (20,360), Andhra Pradesh (17,705) and Uttar Pradesh (17,078).
One of the possible reasons for the increase in seizures could be because of heightened vigil and surveillance by security agencies.
The NCRB report, in its ‘word of caution’, states: “Rise in crime and increase in registration of crime by police are clearly two different things, a fact which is often confused. Thus an oft-repeated expectation from certain quarters that an effective police administration will be able to keep the crime figures low is misplaced. Increase in crime numbers in State police data may in fact be on account of certain citizen centric police initiatives, like launching of e-FIR facility or women Helpdesks, etc.”
“Compared with the previous year, there was an increase of 31 percent in counterfeit notes detected in the denomination of Rs 500 [Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series],” said the Reserve Bank of India in its 2020-21 Annual Report. “However, there was a decline in counterfeit notes detected in other denominations,” the report added.Overall, there was a decline of about 30 percent in the counterfeit notes detected in the banking system, from 2,96,695 notes in 2019-20 to 2,08,625 in 2020-21. Of the FICNs detected in the banking sector in 2020-21, 3.9 percent were detected at the Reserve Bank and 96 percent by other banks.
The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested a woman, said to be the mastermind of an international fake currency racket, from West Bengal on Sunday after a hunt of about a year, the Hindustan Times reported on September 20.“The fake currency notes were smuggled into India from Bangladesh and routed to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana on the directions of Mumtaz Bano (the woman arrested). She ran the entire operation with the help of operatives spread across these States,” the report stated.