ChinaNEW DELHI: In a worrying trend, central intelligence agencies have found that China has emerged as a new transit hub for Pakistan-based operators to circulate fake Indian currency which was also being routed in ‘diplomatic bags’ to Pakistan High Commission in Colombo and via two leading courier services.

“Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) are being routed to Pakistan High Commission in Colombo through diplomatic bag.

FICN are being routed from Pakistan to India and Nepal via China through FedEx and DHL couriers in the form of parcels,” according to a report of meeting of Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

When contacted by PTI, both the companies denied use of their network for any illegal activity.

“FedEx has a long history of working cooperatively with law enforcement and government agencies across India, and does not tolerate any attempted use of our global network or brand for illegal purposes.” FedEx said in a statement.

A DHL spokesperson said currency is a prohibited commodity which it does not accept for shipment. “DHL does not tolerate the use of its network for illegal activities,” the company said.

Pakistan based operators are sending the fake currency by air carriers not only to Nepal and Bangladesh but also routing it via Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Sri Lanka, the report said. These racketeers are reportedly using middle aged and even old Punjabi and Muslim ladies as conduits for carrying FICN into India through land border and airport, according to the report.

The authorities had found an “increasing trend” in the seizure of fake currency in the last three years. There has been a seizure of FICN with face value of Rs 28.4 crore in 2010, Rs 37.42 crore in 2011, Rs 58.60 in 2012 and Rs 26.68 crore in 2013(up to August end), the report said.

“Authorities also suspect rise in smuggling of FICN during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. All concerned agencies are taking steps to check it,” a Finance Ministry official said.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), country’s top agency to check smuggling, has also found that neighboring Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh among others have fast emerged as new routes for smugglers to push Pakistan-printed fake Indian currency notes, official sources said.

The DRI officials have during April, 2013 and January this year registered five such cases outside India and seized FICN with face value of Rs 15 lakh.

As many as eight people, including three Pakistani nationals, were arrested in a joint operation by officials of the DRI and respective countries abroad, the sources said.

During 2012-13, eight cases of smuggling of FICN from abroad were registered. About 14 people, including five Pakistanis, were arrested in this connection. FICN with face value of Rs 6.35 lakh were seized during these cases, they said.

Smuggling of FICN is also being routed to India via Vietnam and Malaysia, the sources said. -PTI