UPA government kept security lapses secret: Finance Ministry Enquiry Report

MUMBAI: TV18’s news English news channel CNN IBN acquired possession of an internal enquiry report by the finance ministry, which reveals that during the printing of Indian currency, security features were compromised. The lapses were also kept under wraps by senior officials working under Ministry of Finance. The incident happened during the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) regime in 2012.

The use of a security thread is the most distinguishing feature of bank notes. The enquiry report, which says the security thread inserted in currency paper at the Hoshangabad Security Paper Mill were from an Islamic nation. The defect in the paper intended for 10 rupee notes was reported on 8 November, 2012, but was kept a secret.

The report says:

Examination of the 10 rupee notes showed indecipherable text on the security thread.

The notes either had Arabic text inscribed on the security thread or did not have any security thread at all.

The security thread was also found to be non-magnetic when examined on a quality control device.

The currency paper with the defective security thread initially escaped at least four to five quality checks.

It was later found that four boxes of sheets had defective currency paper. 

At 5,000 sheets to a box, and 50 notes printed on each sheet, it works out to a whopping 10 lakh defective notes printed.

The company, which supplied the defective security thread, New Delhi-based Aristocraft International, faced no action. The MD of Aristocraft refused to comment.

The serious lapse was also kept under wraps by senior officers at Security Paper Mill and Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India for over three months. No report was sent to Home Ministry or Finance Ministry. In fact, officers allowed the supplier to change the security thread stock without punitive action. Even now no action has been taken against the officers or the supplier.

It is yet to be verified if there was any corruption involved. But clearly the lapses were so serious that it could have impacted national security  exposing the country to allegations of counterfeiting its own currency.

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