On Wednesday, a resident of South Delhi had complained to the local police that he received fake currency notes imprinted "Children Bank of India" instead of "Reserve Bank of India" from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) belonging to the State Bank of India (SBI) from the Sangam Vihar locality.
In a statement, the SBI, which is the country's biggest bank, had said that its ATMs were highly guarded and that there was "remote" possibility of the alleged fake currency having been vended by its machines and that it could be a rumour spread by miscreants.
"SBI has in place at all its Currency Chests a very robust system for monitoring the quality of notes. All notes received by the Bank and to be dispensed by the Bank, either through its ATMs or its branches, are processed through the latest state-of-the-art Note Sorting Machines. These machines are equipped with the templates of all legal tender in the country and any note not conforming to the security features is separated as ‘Suspect Note' for further manual scrutiny. Thus, no fake note is likely to be dispensed through Bank's ATMs at any time."
The government however took strict cognizance of the incident and swift inquiry, as a result of which the arrest was made. The arrested person is reportedly an employee of the company responsible for filling up cash in the SBI ATMs in the locality. According to sources, CCTV footage of the ATM showed the man stacking the ATM trays with currency on the day but it is yet to be ascertained whether those currency were fake.Meanwhile, the news spread like wildfire with #Children Bank of India becoming a hot trend on social media. Twitter users blamed the incident to the government's demonetization drive and took jibes at the Prime Minster and the Reserve Bank of India, the country's central bank.
— Dr. Gill (@ikpsgill1) 22 февраля 2017 г.
#ChildrenBankOfIndia follows strict KYC norms (know your child)!!— Nishant Agrawal (@nbagarwal) 22 февраля 2017 г.
Sputniknews correspondent contacted two persons who claimed that such fake notes were in circulation much earlier. They shared photos of themselves with such notes in their possession. However, they could not verify whether those notes were dispensed from ATM machines.
Neetu Bharadwaj from west Delhi said, "After the news of ATM machines vending fake currency notes broke out, I checked my purse to see if I had any. I found this one. I am sure I must have got it from a shopkeeper who gave me change for a Rs 2000 note. I did not check at that time because it looks way too similar to the real ones. If I go back to him now, he will not accept having given me the note."
Meanwhile, Shudhanshu Tripathy, who works at a government office, said a friend of his gave him the note in jest. "I am not sure where from he got the note. But I kept it assuming the government might come up with an exchange offer."