An SBI ATM in New Delhi dispensed fake Rs 2,000 notes — with “Children Bank of India” printed in place of Reserve Bank of India and other glaring discrepancies. Police said on Wednesday they have identified the culprits, while the SBI said it suspected the involvement of some miscreants with mischievous intent in the incident.
The incident was reported in south Delhi where a State Bank of India ATM dispensed the fake notes on February 6.
Besides “Children Bank of India” printed in place of Reserve Bank of India, the notes also had numerous glaring discrepancies including the words “Churan lable”, a “PK” logo and “000000” serial number, according to the FIR accessed by IANS.
It also read “Guaranteed by the Children’s Government” printed in place of “Guaranteed by the Central Government”.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajiv Ranjan Singh told IANS that the vendor who supplied the cash to the ATM and the persons who inserted the fake notes had been identified.
The officer put the number of fake notes dispensed by the ATM at three.
Asked why no arrest had been made so far, Singh said: “The case is still a matter of investigation. The moment everything is done, arrests shall take place.”
On Wednesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the fake currency.
“A Prime Minister who can’t even print notes properly; how can he run the country? He has reduced the whole nation into a laughing stock,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader tweeted.
Rohit, a customer care executive who got the notes, reported the matter to the police.
In his complaint, Rohit said he tried to withdraw Rs 8,000 at around 7.45 pm from the ATM at the T-Point at Tigri in Sangam Vihar but all the four 2,000 rupee notes turned out to be fake.
After informing the ATM guard posted there, he made an official complaint to the police which sent a sub-inspector to the ATM.
The sub-inspector withdrew another 2,000 rupee note from the ATM which too turned out to be fake after which the police registered an FIR.
A case of cheating and related offences has been filed against unknown persons under sections 489-b, 489-e and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, the police said.
Experts say it is possible for an ATM to dispense even a simple sheet of paper if its size is the same as the currency notes.
“Technically, yes. ATMs are not equipped to read the security features of notes. Only the size needs to be the same,” K. Srinivas, Managing Director BTI Payments, an RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks.
The State Bank of India (SBI), however, said “no fake note is likely to be dispensed through its ATMs at any time” as it has state-of-the-art note sorting machines.
“As the possibility of fake notes from SBI ATMs is very remote, the bank suspects involvement of some miscreants with mischievous intent. However, further investigation is underway,” a bank statement said.
The incident triggered sharp criticism of the government and its November 8 demonetisation decision, ostensibly aimed at to curb counterfeit currency notes in India.
Congress termed it an “epic disaster of the banking system”, saying this destroys its credibility and also reflects operational failure of demonetisation.
“The current example is a manifestation of the monumental operational failure that demonetisation has been in this country. Not only are we finding counterfeit currency notes being exported to India from Pakistan, but also finding from domestic ATMs fake currency notes being given to the customers,” said Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha.