Too few FIRs in Delhi & Gujarat for fake currency notes seized during 2016, indicates NCRB data

Too few FIRs in Delhi & Gujarat for fake currency notes seized during 2016, indicates NCRB data


In a country where inter-departmental coordination hardly takes place in the government, a joint exercise undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is bearing fruits. The NCRB has started coordinating with the RBI for collection and sharing of Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) data. The new tables, which have been introduced in the NCRB's annual publication on crime, reveal that although the value and number of fake currency notes captured last year were the highest in Delhi, followed by Gujarat, the number of FIRs (first information report) registered for seizure of fake notes were disproportionately low in these two places.

The NCRB data shows that the Union Territory of Delhi (total value: Rs. 5,65,21,460; proportion: 35.5 percent) was ahead of other states and UTs in terms of the total value of counterfeit currency captured in 2016.  

Among the states, the value of fake currency seized in 2016 was the highest in Gujarat (total value: Rs. 2,37,24,050; proportion: 14.9 percent), followed by West Bengal (total value: Rs. 2,32,95,800; proportion: 14.6 percent) and Andhra Pradesh (total value: Rs. 92,80,000; proportion: 5.8 percent). The value of fake currency that was seized from Delhi, Gujarat, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh together constituted 70.8 percent of the total value of fake currency seized in the entire country in 2016. Please check table-1 for details.

Table 1: Cases registered for seizure of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) – 2016
 
Table 1 Cases registered for seizure of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) - 2016
 
Source: Crime in India 2016 Statistics, NCRB, please click here to access

The report entitled Crime in India 2016 Statistics by NCRB shows that out of the total cases (i.e. 1,172) registered for seizure of fake currency notes, most FIRs were registered in West Bengal (203), followed by Uttar Pradesh (125), and Karnataka (99). The number of FIRs registered for capture of FICN was 87 in Delhi and 68 in Gujarat.

Most number of fake currency notes seized in 2016, however, were from Delhi (1,14,751), followed by Gujarat (39,725) and West Bengal (32,869).  

The NCRB report cautions us that the data on cases registered for capture of fake currency notes is incomplete and is based on 1,172 FIRs reported online and certified copies against 1,443 FIRs reported in Crime in India under IPC section 489A to E. The figure '0' (i.e. zero) indicates nil data or data not entered online by the state/ UT-level police.

It should be noted that a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan on 7 September, 2016 had directed the states and UTs to upload, on police or government websites, FIRs within 24 hours of their registration in police stations (unless the offence is sensitive in nature like sexual offences, offences pertaining to insurgency, terrorism and of that category). Please click here to access the Supreme Court order pertaining to the Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 68 of 2016.

Denomination of fake currency notes captured

One of the objectives behind demonetisation of Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/- notes was to end fake currency in circulation. Among other things, it is believed that fake currency notes are injected into a country's financial system so as to destabilize its economy and also to promote illegal/ illicit activities.

The latest report on crime statistics by the NCRB shows that 2,272 number of Rs. 2000 currency note were seized in 2016, which made up 0.8 percent of the total number of currency notes and 2.9 percent of the total value of fake currency notes seized. About 1,300 pieces of Rs. 2000 fake currency note were seized from Gujarat alone. Since the Rs. 2000 currency note was introduced during the demonetisation period that lasted between 8 November, 2016 and 30 December, 2016, so it may be said that the problem of counterfeit currency could not be overcome by implementing demonetisation or note ban. Within a period of just 53 days since the introduction of the new Rs. 2000 currency note, their fakes became available.

Table 2: Denomination-wise Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) seized – 2016
 
Table 2 Denomination-wise Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) seized - 2016 

Source: Crime in India 2016 Statistics, NCRB, please click here to access

The recent crime report by the NCRB shows that 82,494 number of Rs. 1000 currency note were seized last year, which formed 29.3 percent of the total number of currency notes seized but 51.8 percent of the total value of fake currency notes captured.

About 1,32,227 number of pieces of Rs. 500 currency note were seized in 2016, which constituted 46.9 percent of the total number of currency notes seized but 41.5 percent of the total value of counterfeit currency notes captured.

The report also reveals that 59,713 number of Rs. 100 currency note were seized, which formed 21.2 percent of the total number of currency notes seized but 3.7 percent of the total value of fake currency notes captured.
 
Coordination between RBI & NCRB

The annual report of the RBI, which was released on 30 August, 2017 says that the NCRB designed a uniform proforma for collection of data on fake currency notes during 2016-17. It also developed a web-enabled software for uploading data on fake currency notes detected by the banks and law enforcement agencies. The RBI is facilitating implementation of the system in collaboration with NCRB. Please click here to know more.

The annual report of RBI says that 7,62,072 pieces of counterfeit notes were detected in the banking system in 2016-17, out of which 95.7 percent were detected by the commercial banks and 4.3 percent were detected at the Reserve Bank level. Please check table-3 for details.

Table 3: Number of counterfeit notes detected (April to March)
 
Table 3 Number of counterfeit notes detected April to March 

Source: RBI's Annual Report 2016-17, released on 30 August, 2017, https://rbi.org.in/Scripts/AnnualReportPublications.aspx?y
ear=2017


Table-3 also shows that the detection of counterfeit notes was 20.4 percent higher in 2016-17 than the previous year.

Table 4: Denomination-wise counterfeit notes detected in the banking system (April to March)

Table 4 Denomination wise counterfeit notes detected in the banking system April to March 

Source: RBI's Annual Report 2016-17, released on 30 August, 2017, https://rbi.org.in/Scripts/AnnualReportPublications.aspx?y
ear=2017


Table-4 shows that except Rs. 100, the detection of counterfeit notes increased across denominations – notably, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 - during 2016-17.

Although 638 pieces of fake currency note of Rs. 2000 were detected in the banking system between April, 2016 and March, 2017 (see table-4), one can infer from the NCRB data (check table-2) that a much higher number of fake Rs. 2000 currency note were detected/ seized during November-December, 2016 by law enforcement agencies. The RBI data indicates that 199 fake currency notes of the newly designed (as well as introduced) Rs. 500 denomination note were detected in 2016-17, which once again proves that demonetisation failed to curb the circulation of counterfeit currency.

The latest annual report of RBI says that there has been a significant rise in the rate of fake currency notes detection at the Reserve Bank level in the post-demonetisation period (5.5 pieces for Rs. 500 and 12.4 pieces for Rs. 1000 for every million pieces of notes processed) as compared to 2015-16 (2.4 pieces for Rs. 500 and 5.8 pieces for Rs. 1000 denomination for every million pieces of notes processed).

A survey-based estimation of fake currency notes carried out by the RBI shows that the rate of fake currency notes detected per million pieces of notes processed at the currency chest (CC) level stood at 7.1 pieces for Rs. 500 denomination and 19.1 pieces for Rs. 1000 denomination, which were much higher than the rate of detection at the Reserve Bank-level (i.e. 5.5 pieces for Rs. 500 and 12.4 pieces for Rs. 1000 in 2016-17).


References:

Chapter VIII: Currency Management, Annual Report 2016-17, released on 30 August, 2017, please click here to access 

Cases Registered for Seizure of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) – 2016, NCRB, Crime in India 2016 Statistics, please click here to access

Denomination-wise Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) Seized–2016, NCRB, Crime in India 2016 Statistics, please click here to access
 
Supreme Court order pertaining to the Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 68 of 2016, dated 7 September, 2016, please click here to access

Fake 2,000-rupee note was out within 53 days of demonetisation, IANS, The Economic Times, 7 December, 2017, please click here to access 

Publish FIRs online within 24 hours: SC, The Hindu, 8 September, 2016, please click here to access 
 
Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change/ Shambhu Ghatak





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