New Delhi: Investigating agencies are baffled by the quantity and quality of fake currency notes being pumped into the country from across the border.
Though alarm bells are ringing loud and clear, they say there is little they can do about fake money that is flooding the country.
The latest target is South India, where counterfeit currency to the tune of Rs 8 crores has been seized. The CBI is hardly patting itself on the back, though.
As CBI Special Director M L Sharma puts it, "This figure of 8 crores worth of seizure of fake currency notes is the tip of the iceberg."
Sharma juxtaposed counterfeit and real notes and indicated that there was nearly no difference between them.
"It is so good, as if it has been printed in the Government Press,” said Sharma, adding that though he is a trained investigator who has been dealing with fake currency, there are certain notes which even he cannot make out. “It is difficult to distinguish between the two," he said.
A bigger worry for authorities, however, would possibly be the shift in counterfeit operations to a previously untouched area, namely South India.
Agencies came across this while interrogating one K M Abdullah who was arrested with over Rs 2.6 crores worth of fake Indian currency.
Although Abdullah’s racket was based out of Dubai, Intelligence agencies indicate that Rs 50,000 worth of fake currency is available at Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 in Hyderabad, Banglore or Mysore.
CNN-IBN has further learnt that an IB report to the Home Ministry contains more disturbing facts. Such as the involvement of educated youth from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as currency couriers.
The report says that 500-rupee notes are also the most popular among counterfeiters.
The source of counterfeiting operations has been pinpointed as Chakala in Pakistan, where the printing is being done with support from the ISI.
The report goes on to describe the extent of the operations - the consignment is first sent to Dubai and then Sri Lanka before finally landing in Tamil Nadu.
Even countries east of India are not exempt and India’s popular and porous borders with Bangladesh and Nepal are also in action, along with Malaysia.
"It is everywhere. It is being pumped in through the air, sea and the land route," Sharma stated. “It is a very serious problem because it has a debilitating and deleterious on our economy.”
It is also clear that at least part of the money is being used to fund terror attacks in the country.
Intelligence agencies are now in talks with the RBI to increase security features on Indian notes but the fear remains that by the time changes come through, India would already be flooded with hundreds of crores of fake currency notes.