De La Rue currency scam – How PC and a few officials compromised National Security

By continuing with a blacklisted SPP supplier De La Rue, did PC and some of his minions compromise the National Security?

By continuing with a blacklisted SPP supplier De La Rue, did PC and some of his minions compromise the National Security?
By continuing with a blacklisted SPP supplier De La Rue, did PC and some of his minions compromise the National Security?

If there is one thing that the United Progressive Alliance was an expert at, it was in finding ways to do graft in just about every deal. Purchase of security printing paper (SPP) from the British supplier De La Rue and the associated scams refuse to go away. And it involves Mr. P Chidambaram (PC), Ashok Chawla (named in the Aircel-Maxis charge sheet, against whom Sanction for Prosecution was given) and Arvind Mayaram.

Will this government act against PC and officials criminally, who have compromised the security of the country? Should this case not be given priority over other corruption cases involving PC?

It all began in 2005. At that time, Arvind Mayaram was a Joint Secretary and Ashok Chawla an Additional Secretary in the Finance Ministry. A part of the ministry was hived and a new company, titled Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (SPMCIL), was created in 2006. The founding Managing Director was Arvind Mayaram and the founding Chairman was Ashok Chawla.

MD, Chairman appointed without ACC

Appointments of this nature require approval from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). But surprisingly, these two appointments were never put up before the ACC and they started functioning. The Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL) was tasked by Chawla and Mayaram with the job of finding an SPP supplier, with the help of SPMCIL. This is a favored tactic by the UPA government – at the slightest hint of a scarcity, decide to import and skim off money by over-invoicing the import. Is this what happened? We will get to this later.

De La Rue was in breach of Security Contract

The government keeps changing the features on a rupee note periodically to deter counterfeiters. Typical features that get changed are the Metallic thread, Intaglio ink, Watermark text etc. This is routine stuff that happens with any country’s currency. A committee headed by Shilabadra Banerjee was formed in 2009 to decide on what changes were going to be effected.

De La Rue came out with a stunning revelation in 2010 that the quality of the security printing paper was falsified by some employees of the company[1]. They were in breach of Security contract with the Indian Government on the supply of SPP, after which the Indian government decided to blacklist De La Rue. This was done by Chidambaram in consultation with the Home Ministry. Pranab Mukherjee became the Finance Minister immediately thereafter. However, India continued to get SPP from them on an ad-hoc basis.

By 2011-12, the government was ready to float an e-tender to find a new SPP supplier. By Aug 1 2012, Mayaram had become the Secretary of Economic Affairs under Chidambaram.

Now the mischief

Arvind Mayaram knowing full well that De La Rue was blacklisted, continued to source SPP from them. De La Rue held a patent for the currency thread, and this too was bought from De La Rue, despite the blacklisting. Mayaram wanted to continue import of SPP from De La Rue despite the e-tender floated under Shilabadra Banerjee committee findings. So he decided to write to Home Ministry on his own, seeking permission from HM to permit import of SPP from De La Rue for a period of three years. This file was not shown to Chidambaram despite the fact that whenever the Finance Ministry wrote to the HM on De La Rue, they always sought the Finance Minister’s approval. This is hard to believe as PC is known to micro-manage his ministry.

Change of Government

When the NDA came to power in 2014, it was brought to the attention of the new Home Minister Rajnath Singh that India was continuing to buy SPP from De La Rue. This decision was promptly reversed and by 2015, India started getting SPP from other sources. The price in 2015 was significantly less than the price in 2005! It is alleged that at least three individuals, including Karti were on the take.

Mayaram’s conduct was brought to the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office, which took a serious view and ordered an inquiry by the Office of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC). Rajiv was the CVC at that time and the Office of CVC asked for the files from the Finance Ministry/ Dept. of Economic Affairs (DEA).

DEA, under Jaitley did not reply promptly nor did they give any papers. After this matter came to the notice of the Prime Minister, CVC got the files. By that time the CVC changed and K V Chowdary had become the CVC. It should be borne in mind that Chowdary is known to be close to PC and Arun Jaitley and has a history of own skullduggery[2].

Charges being framed

The latest information is that charges are being framed against Mayaram by the CVC and the CBI. Sourcing the SPP from the same company that also sold to Pakistan made it easy for them to counterfeit Indian currency.

Whatever the crime, the charges must be pursued and the concerned officials must be prosecuted to the full extent of law. Officials along with PC must be prosecuted besides administrative action.

ACC approval for Mayaram in 2008

Mayaram’s appointment as the MD of SPMCIL was finally approved by the ACC in 2008. It is interesting to note here that Chawla’s position as the Chairman was never approved by the ACC!

Will this government act against PC and officials criminally, who have compromised the security of the country? Should this case not be given priority over other corruption cases involving PC? Mr. Modi, please act.


[1] De La Rue staff faked banknote quality testsSep 8, 2010, The Independent

[2] CVC meeting minutes expose how CVC selected Asthana over the CBI Director’s objectionsNov 25, 2017,

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  1. May be true but Modi Shah will time govt action to suit his next election campaign. That’s the tragedy for Indians. Everything is politicised here. Any offender must be punished ASAP in accordance with the law.

  2. Pls note that in 2010, it was Mr. Bimal Julka( information commissioner appointed by Modi) who was additional secretary and DG currency. Pls check your facts then write such things.

    • Oh now I understood why the paper quality of currency of India is so bad. These people does not understand the value of currency. High quality is not easy to replicate now standard of our 2000 face value notes become haven for coubterfiets

  3. In a country where genuine concern for development and results are so blatantly questioned, do you think putting one or two of these big fishes behind bar will help. It’s not to turn a blind eye to ards the deeds, but Modi has been questioned mainly on development. So, he has had very little time to concentrate on the scamsters. Now that the team is well set and the agenda clear, the second term.would definitely see closure in the high profile cases with the perpetrators put behind bars. We have to give him another term to really weed out all these thugs. There is a section of the media hell bent upon finding something against Modi. Probably no other Corporator / councillor in India has been subjected to so much of scrutiny and abuse as Modi has been. He will act and act.on these cases for sure. The rot is being sanitized at first.

  4. Mr iyer, Why waste time in writing the corruption and scams. Will anything happen? Has anyone been arrested ?If Namo become PM again, it is doubtful whether any action will be taken and corrupt will be sent to jail? No action in 4 1/2 years ? will there be any action now? we the supporters of NaMo are fed up. It is now clear that UPA ruling the country and not NDA. Venting our frustrations,

  5. BJP lead NDA government’s objective has been to come back to power for another term. BJP has been on”winning elections” mode. Corruption is the least preferred issue. Its’ because of Dr.S.Swamy, we are able to know about the mega corruptions and now Currency printing paper scam from De La Rue, thus compromising national security. PM Modi Team is bad.

  6. This was said by Swamy and S Gurumurthy, during demo period. it has been more than 3 years. No comments from any other person. This is what will happen if you have too many non – nationalist and folks who cannot grasp the working of people under them at large. How many MoS or ministers can understand what their ministry is doing and who has important decision making powers. You have AJ reflecting what PC thinks and simply behind money and power.
    A failed kidney. Not sure how much more Karma will haunt him and when will he realize.

  7. Congress has planted lot of bad officers in its tenure of 10 years…
    What more can we say?
    If they don’t respect supreme court judgement on rafale and keep posting false things , courts should take action too ….
    But we always need reminders for everyone to take action or to perform their duties

  8. It was the stinking observation of Supreme Court against UPA Govt while delivering judgment cancelling Coal blocks licenses, stating that Dalals / Agents were roaming around every nook and corner, in the corridors of UPA establishment. It was easier & possible for Pak to counterfeit Indian currencies of Rs. 500/- & Rs.1000/- denomination to a great extent so easily because the source of supply of security paper was the same. Will any person, with a fair sense of justice, would resort to this kind of robbery. PC’s alleged above corrupt action is complete violation of the oath of office & secrecy administered to him by the President of India This is NOT only a white collar robbery, but also amounting TREASON, which should invite capital punishment. As usual, even for this open and shut case, you need the PRIOR SANCTION of competent authority to prosecute him in a Court of Law.

    CBI / ED Must note, on 11-01-2019 the Delhi HC made an IMPORTANT OBSERVATION in the case of quashing of FIR filed by CBI against Rakesh Asthana, Spl. Director of CBI, PRIOR SANCTION from competent authority IS NOT REQUIRED under [ Sec 17A ]of Prevention of Corruption Act for deliberate wrong doing / misconduct / improper functioning / functioning without authority of law – by a Government Servant. Applying the ratio of the above judgment, the CBI / ED can very well proceed against P.Chidambaram, Arvind Mayaram, Ashok Chawla as prime accused and Karti as an abettor/co-conspirator, if found so, in the above case.

    I once again emphasize Criminal Procedure Code should be SUITABLY amended in all Criminal cases including corruption cases against Government servants & Ministers, the ONUS PROVING ACCUSED PERSONS AS GUILTY should be removed from the shoulders of Prosecution and the ONUS OF PROVING INNOCENCE should rest with the accused persons. This alone will help in speedy trial and the accused persons are given punishment in accordance with law.

    Let us see, how long PM Modi’s Central Govt takes in filing FIR, Charge sheet and GRANTING SANCTIONS WHEREVER REQUIRED and start trial in a Special CBI Court in New Delhi. It is an open and shut case. Mr Modi, the time for prompt action starts now.

  9. It seems PC has illegal dealings every whr. He seem to hv been lik a silent mafia during his tenure nd swindled millions of dollars frm the exchequer. It is also quiet evident tht beauracracy is also involved in all wrong doings jeopardising security of the nation which is a criminal offence. They shud all b taken to task and sent behind bars at the earliest.


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