Four years after demonetisation, data on seizures of counterfeit notes shows there is a surge in seizure of fake currency in 2019 compared to 2018
Four years after demonetisation, the highest number of all counterfeit notes seized last year was in the denomination of ₹2,000, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) annual Crime in India report.
The data on seizures of counterfeit notes from all the States and Union Territories also shows there is a surge in seizure of fake Indian currency notes in 2019 compared to 2018.
According to the NCRB, ₹25.39 crore in Fake Indian Currency Notes were seized in 2019, compared to ₹ 17.95 crore 2018, showing an increase of 11.7%.
On November 8, 2016, when the government announced the scrapping of old ₹ 500 and ₹1000 notes, one of the reasons attributed was wiping out fake currency notes in circulation.
The government claimed that the ₹ 2,000 notes had several high security features.
According to the NCRB, 90,566 pieces of fake ₹ 2,000 notes were seized in 2019. The highest number of seizures were from Karnataka- 23,599, Gujarat- 14,494 and West Bengal- 13,637 pieces.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Annual Report for 2019-20, released on August 25, said the RBI presses did not print even a single ₹2,000 note last fiscal. There had been a gradual decline in pieces of ₹2,000 notes in circulation, from 3.6 billion pieces in 2017-18 to 2.73 billion pieces in 2019-20.
The NCRB report said that 71,817 pieces of fake ₹100 notes were seized last year. The biggest recoveries were made from Delhi- 31,671 pieces, Gujarat- 16,159 and Uttar Pradesh- 6,129 pieces.
NIA specialised unit
In 2019, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered 14 cases, where 13,459 pieces of ₹2,000 counterfeit notes had been seized. It also registered eight cases to probe recovery of fake ₹500 notes. A specialised unit to investigate fake currency notes was established in the NIA few years ago.
Though there was no definite account of the number of fake notes in circulation with the government when demonetisation was announced, a study done by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, in 2015 said that at any given point of time ₹ 400 crore worth fake currency notes were in circulation.