That rupee ain't real! Counterfeit Indian currency found in the UAE

Published October 26th, 2015 - 07:59 GMT

Money exchanges and their customers have been warned to be cautious as perfect-looking fake Indian currency notes are found in circulation in the UAE.

The technology used in printing counterfeit Indian notes is so sophisticated that ordinary people or even exchange employees cannot distinguish them from the original notes.

The call for caution has come from a teller with a foreign exchange company in Sharjah, who was recently acquitted by the UAE Supreme Court in a fake currency case, and his advocates.

Indian M.S, 35, was arrested by the Sharjah CID Police in June after the police received information that some Indian rupee notes that he had disbursed to a customer in exchange to dirhams were found fake.

The police received the information after a woman was arrested in Kerala for handing some fake Indian currency notes to a bank over there.

"Her husband had apparently exchanged dirhams with Indian rupees from our client," said Advocate Mahmood Alavi. "She paid Rs6,000 to a bank in Kerala as payment for her daughter's educational loan. Of that five Rs1,000 notes were found to be fake," he said.

Lawyer and legal consultant Abdullah Mohamed Salman, who appeared for M.S. in the UAE courts said, he was convinced that the accused was innocent.

"I argued that it was impossible for ordinary people to detect these original-looking notes as fake."

After investigation, he said, the police also gave similar report stating that those fake currencies could not be detected without using special machines.

"The court took cognisance of the police report and examined an Egyptian colleague of my client as a witness who testified his honesty and finally acquitted him."

Salman said many exchange companies in the UAE, including that of M.S, do not have the software that is used to detect fake Indian currency notes.

"I've found many such cases in the past few years. My request is that exchange companies should have the facilities to check counterfeit currencies and people should also be cautious about them."

M.S. said tellers like him can fall victims to the trap laid by fake currency mafia.

"The police found that some notes in the Rs106,000 in my cash box were also forged. I had seen jail and court in movies only. I never thought I will be jailed for such a crime that I never did.But, I had faith in the judicial system here and I was sure my innocence will be proved." The lawyers said circulation of counterfeit currencies is a serious crime that can pose security and economic threat to both India and the UAE.

Cases on the rise

Many cases of fake Indian currency have been reported in the UAE in recent years and people who travelled from the UAE have been reportedly involved in counterfeit currency seizures in India.

Some reports in the Indian media even claimed that counterfeit currency mafia had shifted their base to the UAE and were routing the fake notes to India via its neighbouring countries.

In September 2013, the UAE Central bank had advised banks and exchange houses to advise their customers about Indian laws on carrying cash to India and warn them against the consequences of violations.

Six months prior to that, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had warned the Non-Resident Indians in the UAE against carrying Indian currency notes while they visit their homeland. The moves had followed reports of circulation of fake Indian currency from travellers from the GCC.

Indians travelling abroad were allowed to carry only Rs10, 000 with them while foreigners were not allowed to carry Indian currency while leaving the country.

However, in June 2014, the Reserve Bank of India permitted residents and non-residents, except Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, to carry up to Rs25,000 in Indian currency notes while leaving the country. They can also bring Indian currency up to Rs25,000 into India every time they visit.


> August 2015: Omani policeman on trial in Dubai for possessing Rs402,000 in fake currency

> June 2014: Iranian man in dock for possessing Rs59,000 in fake Rs1,000 bills

> April 2013: Fake bills totalling Rs7.29 million seized by Ajman Police after arrest of Asian

> January 2013: 2 Asians jailed for possessing Rs68,000 in fake notes in Dubai

> July 2011: 3 Asians held for attempting to exchange Rs1 million in fake notes in Dubai

> October 2008: 4 stand trial for possessing Rs200,000 in fake notes

> August 2008: 4-member gang busted, Rs2 million in fake notes seized in Dubai

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