It didn't take long for fake notes of 2,000 rupees to start circulating after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation in November 2016, with one of its stated aims being to kill counterfeit currency, official data show.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) latest report released on November 30, a total of 2,272 fake notes of Rs 2,000 denomination were seized in 2016. Since the Rs 2,000 note -- along with the new Rs 500 currency -- was introduced only after November 8, 2016, it means that those counterfeiting the notes got into the act very quickly.
In just 53 days between November 8 and December 31 last year, police and other government agencies seized 2,272 fake Rs 2,000 notes -- at a time when people across the country were struggling to get hold of the new currency.
The maximum number of these Rs 2,000 fake notes were seized in Gujarat (1,300), followed by Punjab (548), Karnataka (254), Telangana (114), Maharashtra (27), Madhya Pradesh (8), Rajasthan (6) and Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana (3 each). Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala accounted for two fake notes each. One such note was seized in Manipur as well as in Odisha.
The Rs 2,000 notes were part of the 281,839 fake notes of various denominations recovered from different locations across India.
When Modi announced the note ban, he said it was being done to end black money, counter terror financing and do away with counterfeit currency.
Among other fakes, 82,494 notes of Rs 1,000 and 132,227 of Rs 500 denomination were also seized last year along with 59,713 notes of Rs 100 and 2,137 notes of Rs 50, said the annual publication of NCRB released by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
In a number of raids across the country, police forces, the Income Tax department and other government agencies also recovered 184 fake notes of Rs 20, at least 615 notes and coins of Rs 10 and 2,001 notes of Rs 5.
Also seized were 196 fake coins of Rupee 1 denomination -- between January to December 31 last year.
According to the data, the face value of the total fake notes found in 2016 is Rs 101,222,821.
In terms of value of maximum fake notes, Delhi (Rs 56,521,460) topped the list.
The national capital was followed by Gujarat (Rs 23,724,050), West Bengal (Rs 23,295,800), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 9,280,000), Karnataka (Rs 8,009,136), Telangana (Rs 7,600,905), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 5,013,700), Maharashtra (Rs 4,799,700), Punjab (Rs 4,239,750), Bihar (Rs 3,736,800), Tamil Nadu (Rs 3,342,540), Kerala (Rs 2,057,200), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 1,626,890), Chandigarh (Rs 1,499,000), Rajasthan (1,035,100), Assam (Rs 800,050), Jharkhand (Rs 706,000) and Uttarakhand (Rs 666,400).
At 114,751, Delhi also topped the chart in terms of maximum seizure of fake notes, followed by Gujarat (39,725), West Bengal (32,869), Andhra Pradesh (14,541), Karnataka (14,228) and Telangana (12,667).
Among all the states and union territories, Goa accounted for just 21 fake notes having a face value of Rs 17,000.
No fake note was recovered from Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu as well as Lakshadweep, the NCRB data says.
The data said a total of 1,172 FIRs were registered and 1,107 people arrested for their involvement in the illegal trade.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)