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Have a Rs 10 coin? Check for fake - In counterfeit haven Malda, residents refuse a coin 

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 19.10.16
  •  

Malda, Oct. 18: Many residents of Malda have said they were facing problems while transacting with Rs 10 coins as there is a fear that fake coins of this denomination are circulating in the market.

While there may be some truth in the talk (pictures on right), so far no one has registered a police complaint on receiving a fake Rs 10 coin or gone to any bank to report such a fraud.

Several small businessmen have said they were saddled with Rs 10 coins that no one wants to take.

Officials of nationalised banks in Malda and the RBI in Calcutta said there was no way to exchange a fake coin for a real one or a currency note of the same denomination in a bank. If such a coin is brought to a bank, it would be confiscated and sent to the RBI for verification. If it is real, only then it can be replaced. 

Fake coins are generally more expensive to make than fake paper currency. “Coins are generally more expensive as the intrinsic value is much higher,” said a bank official, explaining why counterfeiting of coins is not as common as faking of currency notes.

Real and fake

According to specifications by the Reserve Bank of India, the Rs 10 coin should be “bimetallic”, circular, with a diameter of 27mm and a weight of 7.71gm. 

Since the Rs 10 coin’s launch in 2009, several versions have been released, but these parameters have remained the same. In one of the versions of the Rs 10 coin, the reverse side has 10 notches with the rupee symbol and the numeral 10 written below. On one of the fake coins found in Malda, the reverse side has 15 notches.

On the coin that has the 15 notches, there were two bars above and below the Ashoka pillar symbol.

In a district where transacting with a Rs 500 currency note is next to impossible — no one takes the note fearing it would be a fake — the counterfeit coin has introduced more panic. 

Police sources said Malda’s geographical proximity to Bangladesh, a known hub for counterfeit coins, was the reason for the district turning into a hub to spread fake Indian currency notes to the rest of eastern India.

“In the current year, the BSF seized fake currency notes with a face value totalling Rs 1 crore, while the district police seized another Rs 60 lakh or so. Circulation of fake notes has already put residents on the alert and now that there are disparities found in the 10-rupee coins, nobody is ready to take a risk,” a senior police officer said.

Trapped with 10

Zahidul Islam, who runs a computer sales and service shop in Ratua, today came to Malda town that is almost 35km 
from his home for just one thing — he wanted a bank to take his 150 coins of Rs 10 denomination and check if there were any fakes. The nationalised bank declined to check, saying it did not have the expertise. 

“Nobody, whether a rickshaw-puller or a tea stall owner, is ready to accept these coins. Traders like me and several others in my locality are facing this problem. The bank said they couldn’t check and confirm if these were real. I am in a fix,” a disappointed Zahidul said.

Biren Das, a tea stall owner on the district collectorate premises, has 10 such coins. “I accepted them from people who had tea at my stall. Now, when I offer these to customers, no one accepts them,” Das said.

No immediate relief is in sight, though. 

Safdar Hossain, an SBI branch manager in Malda, said: “We do not have a mechanism to identify fake coins as we are not technical people. If we get a 10-rupee coin that is suspected to be a fake, we have to send it to the Reserve Bank of India, seeking their suggestion.” 

On being asked whether the bank can exchange coins and give currency notes, he said: “There is no such arrangement in banks.”

A senior RBI official said no money that is judged to be a fake can be exchanged for real currency. “Fake currency, whether it is a coin or a note, is not a legal tender,” he said, meaning these are not recognised by the RBI. 

According to the master circular of the RBI, “all banks are mandated to accept coins of all denominations which are only legal tender from any individual without any restriction and pay the equivalent value in notes,” the RBI official in Calcutta said. 

Bank officials said if a person approached a bank with fake currency or a coin, it would be confiscated and a certificate issued. The currency would be sent to the RBI and if it is judged as a fake, a police investigation could be started. If not, it will be replaced.