India is likely to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh on fake Indian currency notes (FICN) during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the neighbouring nation from June 6.
This is perhaps the first time that India will sign an agreement on fake currency notes with a neighbour. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Home Department of Bangladesh will be the nodal agencies for executing the agreement, said officials familiar with the matter.
According to the draft MoU, besides cooperation and sharing intelligence on FICN, an investigator will be able to exert pressure on his counterpart to locate, restrain, forfeit or confiscate the proceeds of the crime. NIA believes that Bangladesh is one of the biggest transit points for smuggling of high-quality FICN routed through Pakistan, other than UAE and Nepal.
The MoU will help the agencies gather evidence regarding the involvement of Pakistan’s state actors, said the officials. “Porous land borders with Bangladesh and Nepal are used by organised gangs to smuggle fake currency into India. Once smuggled, the fake money is exchanged for original notes at roughly 2:1 ratio or even higher,” said a senior counter intelligence official.
Earlier, Indian agencies used to seek help from their counterparts in Bangladesh through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, signed in 2011. However, there was no mechanism to share intelligence regarding FICN which had become a huge menace for India’s economy.