The state of West Bengal has reported the highest number of fake currency-related cases in the country, as per the latest data released from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The data shows that Bengal recorded 82 cases in 2021, followed by Assam with 75 such cases and Tamil Nadu was at the third spot with 62 cases.
Overall, India reported 639 cases of counterfeit bank and currency notes in 2021. Other states with notable cases were Maharashtra with 55 cases, Rajasthan with 54 cases, and Uttar Pradesh with 42 cases.
The report highlighted that as West Bengal shares its border with Bangladesh and Nepal, the number of fake note cases in the past has always been high. It reported 208 cases of counterfeit bank and currency notes in 2019, whereas, in 2020, 109 cases were recorded.
Value of counterfeit notes
Earlier this month, Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary, in a reply to the Lok Sabha, said that the total value of counterfeit notes in the Indian banking system has fallen by almost 80 per cent, from Rs 16–17 crore to Rs 8.26 crore in 2021–22, since the demonetisation drive.
He noted that the number of counterfeit banknotes has significantly gone down to 2.09 lakh pieces in 2020-21 from 7.62 lakh pieces in 2016-17 after the Narendra Modi government decided to cancel the legal tender status of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination notes on November 8, 2016. He said: “The demonetisation had several objectives including curbing of circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes.”
However, the NCRB data noted that the value of fake currency seized by various enforcement agencies was Rs 28 crore in 2017, which skyrocketed to Rs 92.18 crore in 2020.
The minister noted that in many instances, it was found that fake currency notes were brought in from neighboring countries. “While notes seized by various law enforcement agencies have gone up, there is a discernible trend of reduction in the number of counterfeit notes detected in the banking system,” he noted in his reply in Lok Sabha.
To curb the circulation of fake notes, the government has set up a Terror Funding and Fake Currency Cell to initiate a focused investigation of terror funding and fake currency cases, the minister added.
(With agency inputs)
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