Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed that the key aim of the demonetisation move is to stem the flow of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) and curb terror funding, and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the nodal agency for FICN cases in the country, has already registered 24 cases in which 117 people have been arrested since 2009.
In fact, the first case the agency handled after it was set up in the aftermath of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks was an FICN case.
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Since then, it has filed chargesheet in 18 cases, of which three have ended in convictions and the others are at trial stage. Twenty-five people have been convicted in these three cases by various courts, while nine have been acquitted.
In these convictions, one of the most important cases has been that of a 2009 seizure of FICN of face value Rs 3.45 lakh in Maharashtra. In this, NIA was able to prove in court that FICN seized was printed at a government press in Pakistan.
The case, which saw conviction of six people, was the first to be registered under anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), even though the law was amended only in 2013 to include FICN offences. The NIA had produced evidence through RBI experts and forensic tests by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) to show that FICN features, paper quality and printing quality matches exactly to Pakistan currency and thus could only have been printed by Pakistan government press.
According to court documents, on the basis of the reports submitted by SPMCIL, chairman of the committee of experts was examined in detail for a consolidated expert opinion. The expert in his examination concluded, “…during the examination of the samples of FICN as well as the legal tender of neighbouring country, most of the pivotal parameters of the paper — like GSM of the paper, Wax Pick Quotient, poly vinyl alcohol, PH value etc… — were found matching with the legal tender of that country… GSM is an important indicator about the density of paper. Various currency papers have different GSMs…. The surface sizing is almost similar.”
The expert also observed, “Similarity in the furnish used (100% rag content), PH of the paper and surface sizing (presence of Poly Vinyl alcohol) clearly indicates that similar manufacturing process has been adopted in case of FICN and legal tender of that country [Pakistan]. The aforesaid facts clubbed with presence of See Through Registration features, quality of the printing of the FICN, presence of security thread which appears to be inserted at the time of manufacturing of the paper, use of numbering box in printing the numbering panel of the FICN etc. points to the neighbouring country as a source of FICN.”
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