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Friday, December 16, 2016

Demonetisation :: Pak's sinister designs forced Modi's hands

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The e-mails had been going round and round for sometime carrying the supposed facts regarding the reasons for the sudden demonetisation but one couldn’t really believe all that was conveyed in them. True, Modi had in his election campaign assured that he would fight the menace of black money and bring back all that was stashed away in banks abroad. But, two and a half years had gone by and yet nothing was seemingly moving on that front. He was, therefore, being baited and mocked at by the Opposition inside and outside the Parliament for his extravagant unfulfilled promises.

Perhaps, they were all wrong. It seems to have always been at the back of Modi’s mind, only he was waiting for an opportune moment. What the e-mails contained was indeed alarming and, if things would have been allowed to be left as they were the country would have been in serious trouble. There is a furore over the problems created by demonetisation of high value currency notes at every level of Indian society, more so for the poor and deprived classes. But, one cannot really imagine the consequences had no action been taken on what Pakistan was plotting for economic and financial destabilisation of the country. A report in the Hindustan Times (HT) on 10th December 2016 carried some of the facts but not all the facts of the matter. According to it, Modi had said while campaigning in 2014 in Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh on the Indo-Nepal border that he would fight the ISI designs to destabilise this country.

There was a specific reason for this statement and this was mentioned in the Hindustan Times report rather cursorily. The Police had in 2009 seized Rs. 4 crore in fake Indian currency notes (FICN) from the currency chest of a nationalised bank. These notes were supplied to the nationalised bank by none other than the Reserve Bank of India. The detection of FICN in the currency chest of a nationalised bank was a serious matter. But the newspaper did not report how it was dealt with by the Reserve Bank or the Centre. This is where the newspaper became part of the secular press as it would have exposed the erstwhile Sonia Gandhi-led United Progressive Alliance government.

The facts are contained in the e-mails that have been in circulation for some time. One did not pay attention as one thought it was probably a prank of Congress baiters. Now that the HT, an unabashed Congress supporter, has reported it howsoever cursorily, it seems the whole thing was true and very alarming and the congress government at the centre chose to put a lid on it. It did not take any action and in bureaucratic rigmarole the matter seemed to have been suppressed and buried.

This is where these identical e-mails come in which tell the entire story and the huge ramifications in India of further lackadaisical approach to this sinister design of the ISI and Pakistan government. The story of demonetisation begins 2009-10 when seventy-odd nationalised banks along the Indo-Nepal border were raided only to find counterfeit Indian currency notes and what was shocking was these were supplied by the Reserve Bank of India. That only meant that even the Indian Central Bank had been compromised and it was circulating FICN pushed into India by Pakistan. On inquiries by the CBI it was found that the FICNs were so close to the genuine currency that an ordinary mortal could not detect it. It was only some foreign labs which confirmed that those notes were fake. The minute detail that proved that those were fake currency was reportedly inserted only to distinguish them from genuine Indian currency notes.

Investigations in the matter had proved that the mischief was being done at the UK based company De la Rue from which the RBI was buying 95% of the currency paper. The company was also supplying paper to Pakistan. Blacklisting of the company reduced it to bankruptcy. Later printing of currency notes was outsourced to three foreign companies but soon there was an anonymous complaint somewhere in 2011 from officials of the Ministry of Finance who seemed to have said that it was not De la Rue alone which was compromising the security of the bank notes, other foreign companies also were doing the same. One does not know what action was taken by the government but it seems this information was withheld from the Finance and Home ministries of Government of India.

Sometime later, on Modi’s initiative in 2015 another foreign company – Louisenthal, a German company – was found to be supplying currency paper to Pakistan which was printing high quality fake Indian currency notes and pushing them into India from all directions over land and by air. The Home Ministry barred it from selling bank note paper to the RBI. Pakistan had jacked up the printing of FICN and pushed them into India with vigour and confidence that its economic and financial sabotage would go undetected.

If one goes by what Gen. GD Bakshi, a security expert, has to say one would get an idea of the extent of damage that could have been caused by unchecked infiltration of FICN from Pakistan. He says that India had around Rs.16 trillion worth of Rs 500/- and Rs. 1000/- currency notes in circulation. Pakistan was already printing 15 trillion of these notes to smuggle them into India.  Pakistan had established five sophisticated presses for the purpose. This, as Gen Bakshi says, would have “unhinged” the Indian economy with runaway inflation, steep price rise and unlimited terror funding.

In fact, under these circumstances demonetisation came rather late. Nonetheless, it came before much damage could be done. With the ban on high value currency notes frequency of terror strikes have gone down and the stone-pelters of Kashmir are out of business. Even the Hurriyat which used to distribute (counterfeit) money received from Pakistan has now invited tourists to visit Kashmir as it is fearful of losing relevance in the absence of the old and now-banned high value currency notes. Even the Pakistani kingpin of FICN committed suicide the other day finding himself in a tight corner after demonetisation.

It is unbelievable that the Manmohan Singhs, Rahul Gandhis and Gulam Nabi Azads of Congress were not aware of all these goings on. It is during the reign of the UPA-led government that the RBI was found to have been compromised. Only they did not take the serious breach of security seriously enough. Now that Modi has caught them on the wrong foot they have raised merry hell and have disrupted virtually the entire winter session of the Parliament. Even Rahul Gandhi, popularly known as Pappu, has been threatening of an earthquake were he to be allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha. He should thank his stars that Modi has been pretty decent about it and has so far not made political capital out of the then government’s inaction subsequent to detection of major security breach.

12th December 2016


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