Mahender Mishar (Mishra) of Behar (Bihar) was a short, dark man who, had you met him in a dark alley, would have probably greeted you with a polite “namaste” and moved forward, head bowed. Until one fine day in probably the mid-1930s (year not known), the British media reported that this seemingly innocent man was a criminal mastermind who had perfected the art of counterfeiting British currency.
Mishra was packed off to prison. Emmerich Heisenberg, a Nazi secret agent in London read about this in the “Daily News” with a great deal of interest. So impressed was he with the entire scam, that he sent a clipping from the newspaper to his boss in Germany, SS Major Bernhard Krüger.
What the Indian had done for personal profit, Nazi Germany started doing, to damage the economy of England. 142 inmates, mostly Jewish, were gathered from Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz, both concentration camps with an evil reputation of sending Jews to the gas chambers. Top German artists, forgers and mathematicians were brought together under the express orders of Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Bernhard Krüger was made the mission leader, with express orders from Hitler to print counterfeit currency of an extremely high quality, which would pass even the closest of examinations.
Engraving printing plates, developing rag-based paper and breaking the serial number code was difficult, but Nazi Germany has no dearth of talent. By 1942, the Nazis were ready. The operation was named after Krüger.
They called it Operation Bernhard.
And till 1945, till the time the Third Reich fell and the operation was shut down, they had printed £134,610,810 worth of counterfeit currency, in various denominations.
Nazi Germany used the counterfeit British currency to fund their war efforts. It is said that the operation to rescue Il Duce Benito Mussolini was funded entirely by these counterfeit notes.
Someone at the ISI Head Quarters at Islamabad must have been a keen student of military history, especially Nazi Germany’s. Soon after the first Afghan Jihad ended in 1989, the ISI started its secret mission of printing counterfeit Indian currency to destabilize India’s economy and fund its own version of “Jihad” in Kashmir. This counterfeit money was also to be used for funding terrorist activities in India. The modus operandi was the same as Operation Bernhard.
So widespread was the practice that the government gave it a name. FICN (Fake Indian Currency Note) is now an accepted nomenclature for counterfeit Indian currency.
Intelligence sources have quoted to the media (also India Today of 6 November 2016) – quote begins – “Forensic opinion has revealed that the notes have been printed on highly sophisticated machines involving huge capital investment. The pulp found to be 100 per cent rag in the FICN, which is normally used in making currency papers. The perfection of window and watermark formulation indicates the manufacture of FICN paper on regular currency making machines, which can only be owned by a country or state.
Most of the pivotal parameters of the paper like GSM (paper density measured in grams per square meter), Wax Pick Quotient, and Poly Vinyl Alcohol and PH Values were found matching with the legal tender of Pakistan.” (end of quote)
According to a top-secret report complied jointly by RAW, Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and CBI, and recently de-classified and published by the media (also News18.com dated 8 November 2016) says that the ISI earns an annual profit of INR 500 crores only from its business of FICN.
Quote begins – “Indian intelligence estimates that terror financiers incur a cost of Rs 39 per ever Rs 1,000 note printed across the border – the RBI spends Rs 29 to print a Rs 1,000 note – but manages to sell it in India through various illegal channels at Rs 350-400.” (end of quote)
The main channels of funneling this cash into India are D Company (owned and controlled by Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar of Karachi), Lashkar-e-Toiba (owned and controlled by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed of Muridke) and Al-badr (owned and controlled by Jasneil Rihal of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). These three main channels of FICN infiltration into India are controlled, protected and directed by the ISI. The counterfeit money has mostly come into India from Dubai, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bihar (border areas).
When the 500 and 1000 rupee notes were declared an invalid tender on 8 November 2016, it was not only a blow to corruption and black money in India. It effectively dealt a deathblow to the ISI’s main terror-financing machine.
Pakistan had gained tremendously by this scam. Not only did they damage India’s economy, they also earned money from India, which was used for financing terror in this country.
This self-sustained cycle of terror and fraudulence is now effectively dead.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)