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Posts Tagged ‘Interpol’

Fake Indian currency printed in Pakistan

August 5, 2009 6 comments

The Times of India carried a front page headline a few days ago that pointed to an ominously disturbing fact that the worth of fake currency circulating in the country is an estimated Rs.1,69,000 crore! Of this, the authorities have been able to seize a paltry Rs. 63 cores while the remaining amount still remains at large! As if that was not enough, people across the nation are at loss when they find ATMs spewing out counterfeit currency, a claim that is not very seriously taken by banking authorities, often leading to end consumer loss.

While the government, banks and people are fully aware of the problem and its massive scale, they find themselves ill-equipped to counter the problem, primarily as a result of inefficient detection mechanisms. To make their problems worse, the counterfeit currency being circulated currently is known to match up to 95% with its legitimate counterpart, making tracing and detection even more difficult.

The origins of fake Indian currency and can be majorly traced to Quetta and Chakala in Pakistan, where the ISI engages in extensive printing activities and then proliferates the product to a half dozen East Asian and Arab countries, from where it is redirected to India and neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is believed that the ISI, in complicity with the Pakistan government and elements of the D company, has for a very long time now engaged in the production of high-quality Indian counterfeit currency largely aimed at destabilizing the Indian economy and also using the produce to fund terrorist operations within the Indian subcontinent.

Indian counterfeit currency is printed on security paper in Pakistan or friendly nations leading to its dissemination in India via routes that are believed to be untraceable. However, Indian agencies, already aware of this arrangement have been keeping an eye on these designated routes for sometime now with a small measure of success.

The quality of such counterfeit currency is said to be so high that their tracing and detection is very difficult. Besides, fake currency is transported into India using bona fide travellers as couriers, most of whom travel for this very purpose! Hyderabad and parts of Kerala have become places that are a hot bed for arrival of fake Indian currency from Arab nations, often via labourers who, in search of a better livelihood travel to these nations and in the process end up becoming transport mediums.

Intelligence agencies in India are baffled at the numerous trafficking routes employed by couriers bringing counterfeit currency to India, and the southern part of the nation too is no exception to this malaise. In fact, the prevalence of fake currency is estimatedly higher in this region given its proximity and access to regions in the United Arab Emirates. It seems that the most popular denomination to be replicated is that of the 500 rupees, which is so done to proliferate a larger volume of currency in the system. Experts suggest that the precision involved in replicating currency is so meticulous that their detection is virtually impossible, thus making the process of tracing them extremely difficult.

With the problem growing multifold, India is expected to take up the issue with the Interpol and also ask certain European nations to keep a watch on Pakistan based imports pertaining to security paper and ink. Sleuths in the intelligence machinery are convinced that the ISI has recently asked the Pakistan government to import additional currency-standard printing paper and ink from companies located in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland to further its Indian currency printing exploits.

A highly placed official said that “after using the country’s normal requirement for printing its own currency, Pakistan diverts the rest to its ISI with the intention of destabilizing the Indian economy by pumping in as many Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) as possible into India and also to fund terrorist organizations. It has been involved in printing and circulation of the fake currency notes with the help of the organized crime network of Dawood Ibrahim and others.”

Although detection is difficult, the Indian government needs to step up its vigil and seek active human intelligence on this myriad chain originating from Pakistan and systematically dismantle the operation over a period of time. Perhaps the newly created National Investigation Agency (NIA) could be entrusted to oversee this in coordination with other intelligence agencies. Assets within Pakistan, if any could be tapped to obtain detailed plans involving couriers and their routes. Monitoring of traffic from Nepal, Bangladesh, the UAE, Sri Lanka and other South East Asian nations need to be stepped up in an effort to curb this problem.

Having said that, the time and resources that need to be allocated in breaking this operation will be a huge challenge that the Indian government will face while embarking upon methods to solve this issue!

China producing fake drugs under the label "Made in India"

The Chinese have long been a menace that has been left unattended! This time around, I’m not talking about their complicity with terrorist organizations operating in North-Eastern India, or their repeated attempts to violate the International border, which has been on the rise for some time now.

I’m talking about their new weapon in the Anti-India arsenal which involves manufacturing and marketing fake pharmaceutical drugs under the “Made in India” label. This is truly appalling and comes as a rude shock to the Indian nation in general and Indian pharmaceutical companies in particular who strive very hard to manufacture medication drugs after painstakingly slow and expensive research processes that eat into a major share of their profit margins.

Although Indian agencies have long known that this the Chinese were involved in such practice, valuable evidence to prove this was not easily forthcoming, until early last week, when the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria issued a press release stating that a large consignment of fake anti-malarial generic pharmaceuticals labeled ‘Made in India’ were, in fact, found to have been produced in China. It is extremely unlikely that Nigeria alone is a recipient of such fake pharmaceutical material or that this incident is isolated. This incident throws light upon a well planned scheme of operations orchestrated by China to undermine India in every possible angle, economic front included.

It is very interesting to note that this is not China’s first brush with counterfeit pharmaceutical material. Early this year, Guardian reported on growing health fears on account of fake Chinese drugs extensively being available in Britain. According to the report, an estimated 8 million pieces of such fake drugs found their way into the National Health Service (NHS). British border officials seized more than half a million counterfeit pills destined for the NHS and high-street chemists last year, an amount equal to the quantity of counterfeit drugs found in the whole of Europe in 2005.  Fake life-saving medicines for ailments such as heart disease and cancer, worth more than £3 million were intercepted by customs officials and the Home Office border agency in the first 10 months of 2008. Of these, three consignments alone were each larger than 100,000 pills.

The size of the problem facing the NHS is now so alarming that Interpol’s secretary-general, Ronald Noble, opened an anti-counterfeiting conference in Africa recently by admitting to being “shocked” at discovering that fake drugs were more deadly than terrorism. Forty years of terrorism, he said, had killed 65,000 people, compared with 200,000 in one year alone in China from counterfeit medicines.

It is apparent that China does not worry about its own reputation being tarnished beyond repair in such acts, as was seen in 2007 when it came to light that the former head of China’s Food and Drug Administration was found guilty of taking bribes to license fake drugs. The fact is that the counterfeit drug market in China is very strong and well organized apart from being safeguarded and aided by the state machinery itself, whose devious agenda was clearly seen in Nigeria last week following the haul of fake drugs.

India needs to reflect seriously on what lessons can be drawn from such cases and should urgently step up efforts in food and drug supervision and monitoring, aimed at uncovering more Chinese-sponsored malaise. Chinese officials will continue to live in denial and contest every claim made by the international media, while shamelessly aiding to such unscrupulous practices with the singular objective of maligning India’s reputation and standing in the international community.

Fake foreign-made generics carrying ‘Made in India’ label can do tremendous harm to our interests. It not only dents our image and takes our legitimate market share, it also erodes the distinction between generic and fake medicines that we have been campaigning for at WHO and WTO, as stated in a letter by India’s High Commissioner in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Mahesh Sachdev, written to then commerce secretary GSK Pillai.

New Delhi’s protests to China on this issue will most certainly fall on deaf ears and will be dismissed as a cunningly crafted ploy to blemish the latter’s reputation. Therefore, India needs to build a very strong case against China while coordinating with intellgence sources of Ghana, South Africa, Ivory Coast and West Africa, they being large markets of Indian pharmaceutical products. Information so gathered needs to be presented to international bodies of commerce, crime and pharmacology to invite stringent sanctions on China so as to deter this hideously red nation from engaging in such sordid anti-India schemes.