Know your note to keep fakes out of wallet

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  • Published 18.05.10

Law enforcement agencies have seized fake notes of crores of rupees in Calcutta and its suburbs over the past few years and arrested several people in this connection. The magnitude of the haul and the number of arrests suggest that large international gangs are at work to circulate fake notes in the city. Metro provides a low-down on the racket and ways to identify a fake note

Fake notes in circulation

Fake notes of more than Rs 100 crores are in circulation in and around the city, say police.

Recent seizure

Fake notes of Rs 1.8 crore have been seized, which the police feel is the tip of the iceberg.

Number of arrests

Forty-four people have been arrested over the past two years in connection with the fake currency racket.

Cross-border connection

According to sleuths, operatives of Pakistan’s ISI are the brain behind the fake note racket. Terror outfits in Bangladesh and Nepal are the launching pads. Members of the outfits sneak into India with fake notes, which are sold to the poor.

For fake notes of Rs 1 lakh, one has to pay Rs 60,000 in genuine notes. The terror operatives keep a part of the income while the rest swells the ISI coffers.

Entry route

Fake notes are brought in through the porous border in Murshidabad, Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur.

Local involvement

Most of those who buy fake notes do not know anything about those running the racket. Some of the buyers even sold property to obtain funds for buying fake notes in bulk.

Other ways notes spread

Operatives of the racket visit markets in and around the city and purchase valuables — from jewellery to electronic goods — with fake notes. The goods are then sold at lower than the market rate. Thus they spread the notes and make some quick money.

How is one affected

If someone accepts a fake note, he suffers a financial loss. Police say if counterfeit notes are found on someone, he will have to explain how he got them.

Steps to take

One should deposit fake notes at a bank or a police station. If one gets a fake note from an ATM, one should take it to the nearest branch of the bank and provide officials the time of the transaction, amount involved and the denominations of the notes handed out. Keep the withdrawal receipt of the ATM as proof.

Safeguard tips

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been putting up posters to make people aware of the features of genuine notes.

The posters explain how to tell whether a note is fake or not. The watermark portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the multi-directional lines and an electrolyte mark showing the denominational numeral of the note are also useful for the purpose.

Other tell-tale details include the 1.4mm security thread and the “Bharat” inscription (in Devanagari script).

The quality of the paper used is also important.

Explaining what to do if one gets a fake note, Alpana Kilawal, a public relations officer of the RBI, says: “Fake notes cannot be exchanged, so people who get them should lodge a police complaint.”

If a citizen was in doubt about the authenticity of a note, he could approach any bank or the RBI, she adds.

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How to check watermark

Find the empty portion on the left side of the note. Hold the note against light. One should be able to see a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in this space, along with multi-directional lines and an electrolyte mark showing the denominational numeral (i.e. 100, 500...)

What is micro-lettering

Hold the note at eye level. Look at the gap between the vertical band on the right and the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. In genuine notes, one should be able to see the word RBI and the denominational numeral in this space. Hold the note horizontally, with the right vertical band facing you. One should be able to see a latent image of the denomination.

Hold the note against light. To the left of the portrait and half down the vertical band on the side, one should see a floral design, which appears hollow on the front side and filled up on the opposite side. The complete denominational numeral can be seen in this floral design, though half of the numeral is printed on one side and the other half on the opposite side.

Other identification marks

Visually disabled people can identify the denomination because of the watermark.

Look below the floral design. One can see a dark patch in intaglio print (raised print). The shape of the intaglio print varies according to the denomination of the note. There are different shapes for different denominations (Rs 20 - vertical rectangle, Rs 50 - square, Rs 100 - triangle, Rs 500 - circle and Rs 1,000 - diamond).

What is security thread

It is 1.4mm wide. It is a broken band on the front of the note. However, from the back, it looks like a complete band. The words RBI and Bharat (in the Devanagari script) are inscribed on it. The security thread appears yellow in ultra-violet (UV) light. This thread will not glow if the note is fake. Security thread might not be continuous if the note is fake.

What does UV light show

Optical fibres on real notes make themselves visible when held under UV light. In case of a fake note, optical fibres are fewer in number. The year of printing of the original note should also be visible in the middle and the reverse side, near the bottom.

A genuine note is made of a fibre, which has a “unique feel” and makes “a crackling sound”. These features are common in notes that were released after 2005.

Other features

Check colour changes. Move a Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 note. The colour of the numeral will change from green (when you hold the note flat) to blue (when it is held at an angle).