Yet another gang allegedly involved in the circulation of counterfeit currency was smashed by the Delhi police earlier this month taking the total number of such detections to 45 this year. More than Rs.85 lakh in fake currency has been seized in the Capital so far this year, which is only the tip of the iceberg. The extent of the problem is far greater.

The three accused arrested by the Special Cell had been running a counterfeit currency printing unit in Jhilmil Colony for a long time and had circulated about Rs.5 lakh in fake currency before the law finally caught up with them. The police claim to have seized high quality fake notes of Rs.500 denomination with a total face value of Rs.80,000.

As per figures, there has been an increase in seizure of fake currency from Rs.37 lakh in 2006 to Rs.1 crore in 2007 while it decreased to Rs.59 lakh last year. In some instances of fake currency reported by individuals and banks, the police have seized the currency and registered a case but could not trace the culprits.

Though smuggling in of counterfeit currency is a major concern for law enforcement agencies, the police concede that it is more difficult to detect those operating within the country. “Printing and circulation of fake currency inside the country poses a greater challenge to the law enforcement agencies. It requires smaller networks and involves lesser risk and effort on the part of the criminals making it difficult to detect such units,” a senior police officer said.

“Technological advancement over the years has made the job of those involved in printing of counterfeit currency far easier. Counterfeiting no longer requires extensive skills and resources due to the existence of high-quality scanners, printers and software. These criminals know that counterfeit currency needs to survive a certain level of scrutiny to be used successfully. They circulate it keeping in mind the expertise of those accepting it. They use the currency in places such as clubs, bars and restaurants where unskilled people see a large amount of cash under various distractions and time pressure,” the officer said.

Equipping banks with detectors to identify fake currency, promoting use of electronic means and plastic cards, creating awareness among the public about the security features of currency notes and constantly upgrading various security features could help a great deal in tackling the problem.

Stressing that police could achieve little without the cooperation of the public, the officer said: “Shopkeepers could play a vital role in detection of fake currency. Some small steps taken by them in terms of hiring employees exclusively to check the authenticity of notes coming to their counters and installing machines to identify fake notes could go a long way in dealing with menace. They should immediately inform the police when they come across any counterfeit note even if it means a monetary loss to them. It is good for the economy of the country and as well as for the law.”

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