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Myanmar new conduit for fake Indian currency


An Indian man counts Indian rupees at a shop in New Delhi, India. Photo: EPA

After Bangladesh agencies cracked down hard on rackets pumping in fake Indian currency peddled by Pakistan, the clandestine operations seems to have moved to Myanmar.

Two Myanmar nationals Khin Maung Win and Kar Mar Din, arrested by Thai police in Bangkok on October 9 this year, have revealed that they were in the process of moving a huge consignment of fake Indian currency into Myanmar for smuggling into India.

They alleged two Pakistani nationals, Muhammad Salim and Muhammad Nadeem, were the main operators of this network.  Based on the information provided by the suspects, raids were carried out at two locations in Bangkok and fake Indian currency worth 3.6 million Rupees were recovered.

The Thai police has shared this information with the Indian embassy in Bangkok, who have passed this to relevant Indian agencies in Delhi.

India's revenue intelligence says it has asked the government to sound out Myanmar.

The two neighbours recently discussed greater cooperation on mutual security concerns during State Counsellor and foreign minister Aung Sang Suu Kyi's visit to Delhi last month.

Pakistan’s involvement in the production and circulation of fake Indian currency has long been established.

Its intelligence agency, ISI, has been pushing in huge quantities of fake Indian currency through neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh has cracked down hard on these rackets  and even seized a whole container full of fake Indian currency from a ship in Chittagong port in November last year.

Belatedly these rackets have turned to Thailand, Myanmar and even China.

On a tip-off by Indian intelligence agencies to their counterparts in Colombo and Beijing, Pakistani national Faiz Muhammad was arrested in Guangzhou, China, carrying fake Indian currency worth 2.5 million Rupees from Pakistan when he arrived in Beijing via Colombo on August 19 this year.

During interrogation, Faiz revealed that at the behest of his ISI masters in Pakistan, he was engaged in smuggling fake Indian currency through China for quite some time.

Indian intelligence says that the fake currency rackets operate closely with Islamist terror rackets.

Pakistan's ISI uses the fake currency to fund the terror operations and also undermine the Indian economy.

India will train Bangladesh policemen in techniques to detect the fake currency.

And there can be links between fake currency and terrorist networks. Myanmar has said that the recent attacks against Myanmar border outposts in  Maungdaw, that resulted in the death of eight policemen, was carried out by cadres of Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM), an offshoot of  Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami-Arakan (HUJI-A).

A press statement from the Myanmar President's office that the AMM leader Hafiz Tohar, who hails from Rakhine State, was trained for six months in Pakistan.

"Tackling fake currency rackets are important because they often lead investigators to the terror groups. Cooperation between India and her neighbours in crucial to bust these fake currency rackets," says former Indian intelligence official Subir Dutta.

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