Police recently busted a fake currency-making gang in Dhaka that was using digital software to make the notes.
During interrogation, the kingpin of the gang, Kausar Hamid Khan, admitted to detectives that the digitally made fake notes were almost identical to the real ones.
Police said that Kausar's elder brother taught him how to make fake bank notes 15 years ago. Since then Kausar rented a number of apartments in Dhaka where he produced the fake notes.
He was arrested several times in this period, but returned to this business soon after walking out of prison on bail.
There are at least eight cases against Kausar filed at several police stations in Dhaka. The Detective Branch (DB) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said currency counterfeiters like Kausar circulate fake notes around the year, but especially so during festivals.
They used to use a manual technique to produce fake notes before, but these notes used to have distinct differences from the real ones which made them relatively easy to identify.
But later they started producing fake note using modern software. Police say these digitally produced counterfeit notes are almost identical to the real ones.
Detectives said, "The software can reproduce the security features of banknotes including watermarks and security thread. The notes are so real that they could even fool educated and alert people."
The Serious Crime Investigation Unit of DB arrested the counterfeit currency gang including its leader Kausar from the Kadamtoli area of Dhaka on Tuesday. The DB also seized fake notes with a face value of Tk45 lakh, and note making equipment worth nearly Tk50 lakh in the raid.
Detective Branch officials said they have also identified the software engineer who developed the software for the currency counterfeiters.
"There are 16 active fake currency producing gangs in the country. We have traced the kingpins of the gangs and are trying to arrest them," said Deputy Commissioner of the DMP (Detective Branch) Solaiman Mia.
"The gangs are active at the divisional, district and upazila levels. They target large gatherings at fairs, shrines and local haats to circulate the notes. In fact, ten counterfeiters cheated many people at the recently concluded Dhaka International Trade Fair," the DB officials added.
Sources at the Detective Branch said each group has 20 to 25 members who operate in the divisional and district level.
The heads of the gangs have three to ten cases each filed against them, and they have been arrested at least once. However, they came out of prison on bail after three to six months and continued with the fake note producing business.
Detectives said some officials of financial organisations are also involved in the illegal counterfeit currency making business.
DMP official Solaiman Mia said the counterfeiters used to procure the paper they require from Nilkhet, and the chemicals from Old Dhaka.
A detective who interrogated Kausar said that the gang members used to buy things in crowded places.
"For instance, they would buy a product for Tk200 by giving a (fake) Tk1,000 note as payment. They would move away hurriedly as soon as the shopkeeper returned Tk800. If they got caught, they would act like victims who got cheated," said the detective, seeking anonymity.
The leaders of the 16 counterfeiting gangs across the country are: Emon, Jaman of Rajshahi, Jakir, Salim, Hamir, Sihab, Humayun Kabir, Bihari Sumon, Amjad, Kaiser, Selim Bepari, Saiful alias rickshaw Saiful, Khashru and Sagar.