On February 8, the West Bengal Police arrested a youth with 40 fake Rs 2,000 currency notes from Murshidabad district. It was touted as the biggest such haul from the porous Indo-Bangla border region after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. But what's disturbing is that the fake notes were of high quality and are suspected to have been printed in Pakistan.
Among the motives stated by the Indian government for the demonetisation of 86 percent of India's currency was an attempt to end the supply of fake currency that were being used by terror groups.
But according to security agencies, more than half of the 17 RBI-listed security features have been replicated in the new counterfeit notes.
The notes that have been recovered so far have copied the geometric patterns and the colour scheme on both sides of the Rs 2,000 notes, including the watermark, and the exclusive number pattern of the currency.
In genuine currency, there are 13 features on the front side, including two for the visually impaired, and four on the reverse.
"Unlike samples seized elsewhere, which were scanned or colour photocopies, these have been printed using sophisticated dyes. We have sent those notes to the RBI but the features of these fake notes are quite tough to differentiate," SP Murshidabad Mukesh Kumar told PTI.
The Indian Express reports that the youth caught with the fake notes has been identified as 26-year-old Azizur Rahman, who is from Malda in West Bengal.
He has reportedly told investigators that the notes had been printed in Pakistan with the help of its intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), and had been smuggled from Bangladesh, where smugglers paid between Rs 400 and Rs 600 for a fake Rs 2,000 note.
Central security agencies and police intercepted a few consignments of Rs 2,000 notes between December 2016 and January 2017 from areas near Malda district. The BSF is now planning to get some training from India's central bank to ensure its jawans get better at seizing fake note consignments.
"We are in talks with the RBI for a training program for our soldiers and officers on ground duty for identifying fake Rs 2,000 notes. Hope we will be able to do it very soon," a senior BSF official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
"We want our soldiers and officers to have a proper idea on how to identify fake and real notes, either by use of technology or physically. There are 17 features in the Rs 2,000 notes, so we want our jawans to be well trained in spotting fake notes, even with the high number of security features replicated," another BSF official said.