The busting of two counterfeiting dens in the capital's Mohammadpur area by the detective branch (DB) police within a week confirms increasing activities of counterfeiters, as observed by a member of the DB team, before and during festivals. In the first raid, four members of the counterfeiting racket including the mastermind were arrested with fake currency notes with face value of millions of taka along with computers, other equipment and materials used for faking notes. The second drive produced six arrestees, counterfeit currency notes of huge amount and similar other hauls as in the first raid. But this gang was remarkably expert in making look-alike US currency notes which naked eyes, according to the police, could not detect. If the ringleader of the gang arrested in the first drive had been arrested six times before this, the brother of the gang leader arrested in the second raid is in prison for the same offence.
What does it all mean? It means that the counterfeiters are a well-knit underworld band, who take up the illegal enterprise, knowing full well that they can come out of jail to revert to their malpractice again and again. How can a man be reportedly awarded jail terms six times and still engage in the same nefarious business? Here is some food for thought. A man of such dexterity and ingenuity -- much as the skill may be on the wrong side -- should be put into a correction centre for imparting skill to him for positive contribution to his family or society. Or, if legal provisions do not permit such concessions because such correction centres are absent here, such a person should be awarded a longer prison term wherefromhe cannot come out frequently. Even here his talent can be better used.
Counterfeiting is not a problem in this country alone. Minting money in this way has literally helped some of the world's most notorious counterfeiters make huge fortunes. How many such evil geniuses in this country have done so is not known. But the DB police say that several gangs are engaged in this city. If they know this, why cannot they destroy the underworld racket? One of the reasons is that light punishment acts hardly as a deterrent to the faking business. Also, existence of influential patrons receiving share from counterfeit business cannot be ruled out.
It is, however, axiomatic that circulation of counterfeit currency notes weakens an economy and at times destroys lives of unsuspecting innocent people. Much as the notice published on the ways of recognising genuine bank notes from fake ones, illiterate and simple village people are always at risk of accepting such notes without suspicion. No wonder, counterfeiters mainly target rural markets for circulation of their illegally replicated notes. They maintain a chain of distributors of their fake notes for the purpose and there is no dearth of such distributors at the grassroots level because of the temptation of making easy money. Unless the sources of such illegal currency notes can be plugged, counterfeiters will go on with their criminal practice, risks notwithstanding.