Skip to main content

RBI in spot? Allegations fly high, it tied up with "blacklisted" British co to supply note printing equipment

A screenshot from De La Rue website
By Our Representative
In the wake of the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, a portal run by well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad has wondered as to why Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave away contract  supply machinery for printing notes to a British company, which it alleges was “black-listed”previously.
The portal, www.sabrangindia.in, quotes the official site of the RBI Note Mudran (P) Ltd, which says, “The machinery at Mysore Site has been supplied by M/s. De La Rue Giori, now KBA Giori, Switzerland and that of Salboni by M/s. Komori Corporation, Japan. Both the presses are equipped with sophisticated Security Surveillance Systems.”
Claiming that the RBI has given contract to print notes to De La Rue “without any official announcement being made”, the portal says, “Until April 2016, at least, De La Rue continued to supply paper for this printing, and was re-issued tenders by the Modi government for this highly sensitive activity despite being banned for national security reasons in 2010-2011.”
Terming this “mysterious”, the portal says, the portal quotes an RBI circular, which makes “a vague reference to only presses with sophisticated equipment supplied by De La Rue (now renamed KBA Giori)”, adding, “The company’s own website clearly announces interest and role in printing of the currency.”
It also quotes what is calls “unconfirmed sources from the RBI” to say that, after the De La Rue's alleged involvement in the Panama papers scam in April 2016, this company had been again black-listed from supply of paper”.
It adds, “There is no official explanation why a foreign company, black-listed on national security concerns (2011), was allowed to supply paper again by the Modi government, without any public announcement between 2014 and 2016. There is also no announcement of this reported recent black-listing on any official government, or the RBI website.”
Lately, reports the portal, a Right to Information (RTI) query has been filed to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) demanding to know whether the paper supplied for the printing of the new notes after demonetization is paper supplied by De La Rue(UK) and Louisenthal (Germany).
The portal also quotes an investment journal to point out that the company banned for national security reasons, De La Rue could be a major player in prime minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India schemes. 
Pointing towards why it wants to be in business with India, the De La Rue site says, "Cash is the most socially inclusive payment method. It has a key role to play in the evolving payments ecosystem with India and as a result, will be around for many years to come", adding, "Non-cash transactions today account for only 22% of all consumer payments."
It continues, "Currency in circulation accounts for 18% of India's gross domestic product (GDP). During 2015 cash usage accounted for 78% of all transactions. Cash is the preferred mode of payment for 78% of merchants."
The portal says, seizures of counterfeit currencies made by the enforcement agencies had revealed that the quality of notes were identical to the legal currency notes, noting, “It was difficult for even the banks to identify the differences.” It adds, “Intelligence reports suggest counterfeit currency notes are printed in a high-security press in Pakistan and smuggled into India and distributed to destabilize the Indian economy.”
The portal further raises alarm that another company, Italy-based Fabriano Securities, which was “also allegedly named in the Panama offshore companies scam has been the supplier for the security thread for the new currency notes after de-monetization.”
The portal says, what also is being “ignored” is is that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom (UK), in 2010, found serious security breaches in De La Rue. In their inquiry, the SFO had uncovered that a number of De la Rue employees had deliberately falsified certain paperspecification test certificates for some of its 150 clients.
It adds, there is also the revelation that De la Rue paid out a 15% commission to a New Delhi businessmen to secure contracts from Reserve Bank of India, and that De la Rue paid £40m in settlement to the RBI for issues in production of paper notes.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.