A little more than half of the fake currency seized this year so far came from Maharashtra and Gujarat with counterfeit notes of Rs 2,000 making up the bulk, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Since Rs 2000 notes were introduced after demonetisation in November 2016, 1.54 lakh fake notes with a face value of Rs 2000 each were seized. From Gujarat alone, more than 34,000 fake notes of Rs 2,000 denomination have been seized since 2016.
Various law enforcement agencies seized fake currency with a face value of Rs 5.05 crore across the country this year till June 18 and Maharashtra and Gujarat accounted for fake currencies with a face value of Rs 2.53 crore.
Police seized counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 1.66 crore from Maharashtra in 33 cases in which 40 people are named. From Gujarat, fake notes with a face value of Rs 87.49 lakh were seized during the year in 42 cases in which at least 42 people are involved.
Last year, Maharashtra had seized counterfeit notes of Rs 1.15 crore, while in Gujarat the seizure was Rs 1.23 crore. While Maharashtra has already surpassed last year's figure, Gujarat is also fast catching up with the figure with officials saying that the trend shows that there are huge rackets working in these states which are yet to be caught.
This year, West Bengal (Rs 82.43 lakh) came third when it comes to the seizure of fake notes followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs 65.76 lakh) and Uttar Pradesh (34.59 lakh). In Karnataka, fake notes with a face value of Rs 2.09 lakh were seized in eight cases so far in which 22 people were named.
According to data placed before Lok Sabha, fake notes of Rs 15.48 crore was seized in 2015 while it rose to Rs 24.61 crore the next year.
Counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 28.10 crore were seized in 2017, a year after demonetisation, which was pegged as one of the measures to tackle fake currency. However, 2018 saw a decrease with fake notes worth Rs 17.75 crore being seized.
Officials said the decrease in seizure could mean two things – either the fake currency rackets are not being able to operate freely or that the racketeers are getting the better of law enforcement agencies.
They pointed out that one cannot discount the fact that 1.54 lakh fake notes of Rs 2,000 was seized. In 2016 alone, the MHA data showed, 5,262 fake notes with a face value of Rs 2,000 each were seized.
“The Rs 2000 note came in public domain after 8 November 2016 following demonetisation. In 2016 alone, 5,262 fake notes of this denomination were seized. That means, within 51 days of that year in which the note was in circulation, racketeers managed to circulate these notes,” a senior police official said.