Chennai: It is Chennai - not Mumbai or Malda - which has emerged as a hub for circulating counterfeit currency if one were to go by the Crimes in India 2011 report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Statistics in the report reveals that Chennai had witnessed the most number of counterfeit currency cases among all cities in the country last year. While at the pan-India level, the fake currency cases had dipped by 21 per cent in the last two years, Chennai has been witnessing a steep rise. From 42 cases of circulation of counterfeit currency registered in 2009, the instances of fake currency more than doubled to 99 during 2011.
However, among the States, Tamil Nadu has recorded the second highest number of fake currency cases (275), next only to Maharashtra (351 cases). Officers in the State Crime Branch CID, which deals with counterfeit currency cases, interpret the statistics in two ways. One, they credit it to their diligent work in busting fake money rackets. Two, they agree that Tamil Nadu has become a soft target for the racketeers due to poor awareness among the people.
“It is common knowledge that Malda district in West Bengal is the main route through which fake currency is smuggled into the country. But when I had gone to the district trailing a case, I was surprised to see that even a petty shopkeeper there was able to identify a fake currency. Since the people in the eastern and northern States are so vigilant, the fake currency is being diverted to States like Tamil Nadu,” says Deputy Superintendent of Police M Rajendran, CBCID (Counterfeit Currency Wing).
It is Chennai - not Mumbai or Malda - which has emerged as a hub for circulating counterfeit currency.
In many of the cases, he says, the fake currency was either passed on through migrant labourers or smuggled across the State’s border with Kerala. Coimbatore district recorded 30 fake money cases last year, which is second highest in the State.
Significantly, in Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country and believed to be one of the main circulation points of fake currency, a much lesser number of cases (only 81) were reported in 2011. This was followed by Kolkata (63 cases) and Bengaluru (60 cases).
The report also notes that the police are most lethargic in disposing the fake money cases. Across India, about 59.8 per cent of the counterfeit currency cases were pending police investigation at the end of 2011, which is the highest when compared to the disposal rate of other IPC crimes. The police had filed chargesheets only in 46.4 percent of the cases.