Money counterfeiting gangs are active again ahead of Eid, when people spend a lot in shopping and fake notes change hands often undetected.
“Our intelligence report suggests that the gangs of counterfeiters have become very active ahead of Eid,” Major Maksudul Alam, deputy director (Legal and Media), Rab headquarters, told The Daily Star yesterday.
An official at the Detective Branch of police said a good amount of fake notes are already in circulation. A gang busted in Mirpur recently told them that they had already circulated Tk 60 lakh in fake notes, he added.
According to law enforcement agencies, about 15-20 such gangs are active in Dhaka while many others are busy faking notes in other cities to cheat shoppers.
Over the last few weeks, at least seven gangs were busted in Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet with a huge amount of fake money, of Tk 500 and 1000 denominations, and equipment used for printing those.
In the latest bust, Rab seized around Tk 1.05 crore fake notes and equipment used for making the notes in Banashree area yesterday.
The Rab also arrested five members of the gang which was planning to make fake notes worth Tk 10 crore and circulate them across the country.
Maj Maksud said they have already alerted all Rab units about the counterfeiters and asked them to launch drives.
Bangladesh Bank officials held a meeting with law enforcers recently and asked them to go extremely tough on the gangs.
“We'll give 200 fake currency detecting devices to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) so it might put the devices at key points of monetary transactions,” BB Executive Director and spokesperson Mahfujur Rahman told The Daily Star yesterday.
Earlier this month, two more gangs with spurious notes worth about Tk 1 crore were captured by detectives in separate drives in Dhaka. They were set to circulate the notes worth Tk 9 crore this Eid. The materials and equipment needed for producing the notes were found in the gangs' possession, DB officials said in separate briefings recently.
PRINTING TO CIRCULATION
Printing and circulation of fake notes take place in three phases, said law enforcers.
One group prepares and supplies the special paper while another group prints the counterfeit notes. A third group circulates them, according to DB investigators who quizzed the criminals.
The production cost of fake notes worth Tk 1 lakh ranges between Tk 3,000 and Tk 3,500, said DB Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam recently.
The fraudsters sell the notes to wholesale buyers for Tk 7,000 to Tk 10,000. The wholesalers then sell them to retailers across the country for Tk 15,000 to Tk 25,000.
The retailers circulate the notes when buying goods while some of them circulate the notes through a section of unscrupulous staff of banks and ATM booths, Monirul claimed.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of Rab-3 raided Banashree in the capital around 6:00am and detained Abdur Rahim Sheikh, 35, an alleged ringleader of the fake currency making syndicate, Rab officials said during a media briefing at Rab headquarters.
Following his information, the Rab team detained four of his alleged associates and seized fake notes worth around Tk 1.05 crore from them.
The arrestees were Rahim's first wife Fatema Begum, 24, his second wife Rubina Khatun, 19, Mohammad Asad, 22, and Tajim Hossain, 26.
They also seized fake currency making equipment including 11 money making screens, three boards, two high performance colour printers, two laptops, four rolls of security threads to put inside the notes, eight reams of special paper, two jars of ink, and a high-end scanner.