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Fake currency gangs active ahead of Eid

Currency counterfeiting gangs became active to circulate fake notes in the markets ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

With financial transactions and shopping underway in full swing, the fake currency gangs are already on the prowl with big plans around this Eid.

After arresting several currency forgers from the capital over the past several weeks, police officials confirmed that a large number of money counterfeiting groups were active ahead of Eid-ul Fitr.

Law enforcement agencies said manufacturing fake notes takes place around the year but before the Eid festival, the circulation of fake notes increases because people spend a lot of money on shopping on the occasions.

However, due to the strict surveillance of the law enforcement agencies, several gang members have been arrested. Many are under surveillance.

Forgers produce fake notes, especially of Tk 500 and Tk 1,000 denominations, during Eid shopping binge.

The production of counterfeit is very easy as it requires a small place and smaller investment, said a police official.

A laptop, a colour printer, some particular paper, chemicals and some other materials are enough to produce fake notes, he added.

On April 12, the Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested four people from the city’s Lalbagh area with fake notes of Tk 20 lakh. Earlier in January, RAB raided Pallabi area and arrested three people with counterfeit notes of Tk 1.2 crore.

DB Deputy Commissioner (Gulshan Division) Mashiur Rahman said a counterfeit note factory was found in a house in the Lalbagh area on April 12. Counterfeit notes of Tk 20 lakh and fake Indian currency of 1.5 lakh rupee were seized from there. The owner of the factory is Taizul Islam Liton.

During the preliminary interrogation, Liton said he was making fake notes day and night ahead of Eid. Liton said his factory could make crores of fake rupees every month.

The DB official added that in addition to Liton, several other gangs are also involved in making counterfeit notes. They are being monitored.

Another DB official said that although there was no list of gangs involved in making counterfeit notes, many gang members were arrested at different times. They came out of the jail and reopened the counterfeit money-making factory.

Based on the information received from the counterfeit note dealers who were arrested at different times, the police officials said that the counterfeit notes are being distributed in the market in three steps.

The first step is the craftsman or machine man. Counterfeit note retailers know them as ‘mint owner’. The second step is the dealer. These dealers are located in different districts, divisional areas and border areas. They buy counterfeit notes from the owners of the ‘mint’. There are hundreds of retail representatives in the third stage and field level.

Members of the law enforcement agencies said that the producers usually hand over counterfeit notes of one lakh taka to the dealers for Tk 12,000 to Tk 15,000. The dealer sells it to retail representatives for Tk 15,000 to Tk 20,000. Retail representatives insert counterfeit notes inside real notes when buying various products including restaurants, food items, cosmetics, textiles in the busiest areas of the city.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank along with law enforcement agencies are working to stop the spread of counterfeit money. The central bank has also provided various instructions to the public including all the banks of the country.

On March 30, Bangladesh Bank’s Department of Currency Management issued a circular to all commercial banks in the country to highlight the security features of genuine notes during Ramadan to raise awareness against counterfeit notes.

Banks were also asked to take extra precautions to detect fake notes.