Based on a tip by the CIA, Indian authorities have caught a Pakistani agent smuggling fake Indian currency notes via Dubai and Bangkok. The new notes in circulation were printed in 2016 after India’s War on Cash. However, GreatGameIndia investigation exposed that the contract for printing the notes was given to a British Crown firm DeLaRue, banned and blacklisted in India for colluding with Pakistan in pushing Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) into India.
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A man who arrived on a flight from Dubai on Sunday morning was arrested for carrying fake Rs 2,000 notes with a face value of almost Rs 24 lakh. The notes were of high quality, incorporating seven of nine security features.
The accused told the police that they were printed in Pakistan and sent to Dubai, with India intended as the final destination. The denomination, when issued in 2016, was touted as highly secure, but RBI said in October that no Rs 2,000 note was printed in 2019 as NIA had found high-quality fakes.
The passenger, Javed Shaikh (36), a Kalwa resident, had been to Dubai and Bangkok in the past and may have brought in many such consignments. Police are questioning him about who the present consignment was meant for.
“An average person will not be able to identify the fake notes. Shaikh walked away at the airport’s security check. He was caught at the bus stop outside the international terminal,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Santosh Rastogi, who did not rule out a terror link. He said Shaikh was caught because of a CIA tipoff.
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“The counterfeit currency was smartly stuffed in one of his trolley bags. The notes were scattered inside a cushion, which was stuffed into a gap between the bag’s wall and a cloth liner. It took us over an hour to locate the money,” Rastogi said.
“A scanner identifies notes if they are kept in bundles. It’s the edges of the bundles that get detected. As opposed to this, Shaikh was carrying the notes in a scattered format, making machine detection difficult,” Rastogi said.
On the quality of the notes, a crime branch officer said that the two security features that weren’t copied properly were ‘optically variable ink’ (ink that changes colour with changing angles) and ‘see-through register’ (hidden features that are seen only if a note is held against light).
This Fake Indian Currency Network (FICN) was revealed in a GreatGameIndia investigation that led to a major national controversy exposing the role of British Crown firm DeLaRue in fake Indian currency notes. Following the publication of our findings we received a gag notice from the advisory firm Brunswick on behalf of DeLaRue threatening us to shy away from revealing further information.
As a direct impact of GreatGameIndia reporting the Government Security Paper Mill (SPM) in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, filed a recovery suit of Rs 11 crore against De La Rue for supplying substandard paper for printing currency notes.
Through Right to Information Act (RTI) we found that banned and blacklisted DeLaRue was involved in the printing of Indian currency notes even after Demonetization. This raises many questions that needs to be answered.
- How could a blacklisted and banned British company be given the sensitive job of printing our currency notes?
- Is DeLaRue still blacklisted or not?
- If yes, than who lifted the ban?
- If no, than why DeLaRue is still involved in printing our notes?
DeLaRue was also involved in the mysterious hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight 814 also known as IC 814 in 1999. One of the high-value passengers onboard was none other than the owner of DeLaRue, Roberto Giorgi. In a controversial prisoner swap, a deal was made whereby Pakistani terrorists were exchanged in return of Mr. Giori, the ramson amount of which was paid by the Swiss government and delivered by RAW (India’s external intelligence agency) agents.
The terrorists swaped founded Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad just a year later and are believed to be behind numerous terrorist attacks on Indian soil, including the recent strike in Kashmir – the Pulwama attack.
Further it was revealed in 2019, that a Special Unit of 26 operatives recruited from various departments including India’s external intelligence agency RAW were posted in various Reserve Bank of India (RBI) offices around India to oversee and co-ordinate the Rs 3 trillion fake Indian currency scam. The notes were printed abroad and brought to India in Air Force Transport planes at Hindon Air Force base.
Understand India’s Demonetization from a Geoeconomic perspective through our exclusive Global War on Cash issue and explained in detail with a historical backdrop along with Black Money calculations in our exclusive book India in Cognitive Dissonance.
GreatGameIndia is a journal on Geopolitics and International Relations.