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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Fake currency circulation is still posing a real challenge in Odisha. Post dipping to a historic low in the demonetisation year, the total seizure value of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) has again picked up pace to a record seizure of over Rs 7.3 crore in mere 9-months of 2019.

However, the paradigm shift now observed is banks have recorded nil FICN transactions, but the Odisha police is busting FICN jackpot.

Consider this. Total FICN seized (by Odisha Police) and recovered (by Banks in Odisha) in 2012 was valued at Rs 4.5 lakh, which jumped to Rs 26.2 lakh in 2013, Rs 18 lakh in 2014 and Rs 25 lakh in 2015. The value saw sharpest ever drop to mere Rs 72,000 in 2016. It again shot up to touch around Rs 36 lakh in 2017, Rs 10 lakh in 2018 and a massive Rs 7.3 crore till date in 2019. Odisha police had seized Rs 7.1 crore FICN only three days ago in the Capital city.

However, in pre-demonetisation years, FICNs recovered by banks in the State accounted for around 20 per cent of total fake amounts impounded. The big shift observed now is banks here have recovered nil FICN creeping into their system. The banks have reported nil fakes recovered at their end during 2018-19 and 2019-20 till date.

The prime reason behind the fakes failing to make it into the banking system in Odisha is since the new range of fake notes are photo-copies of new high denomination Indian currencies vis-à-vis the earlier flow of high quality fakes printed in optical variable ink that gives a colour shift to the notes when tilted, explained a senior RBI official in the currency division here.

The Odisha police have now become active in busting the FICN racket proliferating in the State by conducting an integrated investigation into the fake racket vis-à-vis inquiring in an isolated manner earlier.

Police data reveals that FICN conduits proliferate in the border districts. And as per police investigations, though fake note printing units were identified in Bargarh and Sonepur, there are enough evidences to believe that a huge amount of fake notes have been routed in installments from West Bengal through conduits who work here as construction workers.

Also fakes flow in via Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While majority of high denomination notes were routed from West Bengal, small quantity were imported from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and even Karnataka, top police sources confided.

As per the data with State police over fake denominations seized, big currencies like Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 denominations account for around 34 per cent and 8 per cent share, respectively. But the fake currencies of small denomination ( Rs 100) grab the lion’s share of around 55 per cent.


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