Maha CM Fadnavis allots land to blacklisted UK currency printing firm

In a startling revelation, it has come to light that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis provided 10 acres of land in Aurangabad to a blacklisted British company, De La Rue for printing both Indian and foreign currency.

Maha CM Fadnavis allots land to blacklisted UK currency printing firm

In a startling revelation, it has come to light that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis provided 10 acres of land in Aurangabad to a blacklisted British company, De La Rue for printing both Indian and foreign currency.

The British company De La Rue, one of the prominent names in notes printing industry, was blacklisted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2011 over serious allegations.

The company was accused of providing the same currency paper to India and Pakistan. De La Rue had provided defected currency paper to India worth nearly Rs 300 crore. The defects were detected following tests conducted by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL).


The Shiv Sena MP Hemant Godse has revealed the agreement between BJP government in Maharashtra and De La Rue which was signed nearly six months ago.

Under the agreement, a 10-acre plot has been allotted to De La Rue at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) complex in Aurangabad. The setting up of the currency printing plant will cost approximately Rs 700 crore.

It is noteworthy that this is the first time that a foreign company has been permitted to print the currency notes in India. Hemant Godse mentioned that he had shared the information with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley when he visited Nashik in December for an event.
He also told Jaitley that De La Rue had previously been blacklisted by the MHA in 2011. However, no action was taken by the Fadnavis government to cancel the agreement with the blacklisted firm.

Despite information, the Home Ministry too has not intervened in the issue yet. Godse claimed that Jaitley informed him about De La Rue officials trying to meet him several times since 2014 when Modi government assumed power at the Centre.

“De La Rue representatives have told Maharashtra government officials that 90 percent of its printing efforts will be to produce foreign currency, though the company may also print 10 percent of Indian notes at the Aurangabad plant,” Godse told The Quint.

Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has also raised this issue.He questioned on the re-emergence of a blacklisted British company, a currency printing major, in India around the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the demonetisation drive.
Thomas de la Rue, one of the three foreign firms contracted by the Reserve Bank of India in 1997-98 to print 360 crore currency notes of ₹ 500 and ₹ 100 denominations with an aggregate value of ₹ 1 lakh crore, was reportedly blacklisted by the Union Home Ministry in 2011, he told the media. He cited a set of documents, including news reports.

In a report in 2012-13, the Public Undertakings Committee of Parliament — headed by Congress’ Jagadambika Pal, who has since joined the Bharatiya Janata Party — had expressed serious reservations about the RBI’s unprecedented move in 1997-98 to outsource currency printing to foreign firms. It had maintained that it risked currency falling in the hands of “unscrupulous elements like terrorists, extremists and other economic offenders.”

“There is no mention of De La Rue’s activities in India in its annual reports of years 2013, 2014 and 2015. But its annual report of 2016 clearly mentions the India operations of De La Rue Cash Processing Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. and De La Rue India Pvt Ltd. In a recent interview to a journal, Martin Sutherland, chief executive of De La Rue, says the company has set up an office in Delhi and its senior management is working closely with the Union Department for Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). He further speaks about its potential role in the ‘Make In India’ initiative. There is evidence to show that the company’s share value rose by 33.33 per cent after April 11, 2016,” Mr. Chandy said.

He called into question the company’s involvement as one of the Platinum Partners in the India-U.K. Tech Summit held in Delhi in November.

In the wake of news reports suggesting that the RBI had selected a few foreign firms, including De La Rue, to print plastic currency notes of ₹ 10 denomination to bring liquidity to the market, Union Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal informed Parliament on December 9 that plastic currency printing had begun at a foreign firm.