Government denies allegations on links with British note printer

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) The government on Tuesday rubbished the Congress’s allegations that a British company had been shortlisted for printing of plastic notes in India.

The government said the security clearance for the firm had been withheld and no contract had been signed with it for the past three years.

The Congress on Tuesday alleged that the central government collaborated with a blacklisted British note printing company De La Rue.

“De La Rue has been shortlisted for printing of plastic notes in India despite it being blacklisted, showing complicity at the highest level,” said Oommen Chandy, former Kerala Chief Minister and senior leader of the Congress, at a press conference here.

The Ministry of Finance, without naming the company, in a statement said: “No fresh contract has been given to this company by the Government during the last three years.”

“The security clearance for this company has been withheld by the Ministry of Finance. Hence, no fresh orders have been placed with the said company since 2014,” said the statement.

“The said company had been supplying bank note paper till 2010. Further, as per the decision taken in 2013, the company was permitted to supply a security feature for bank notes till December 2015,” it added.

“The company has applied for setting-up a factory in India. No action has been taken on their application,” said the Finance Ministry statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, Chandy said: “In 2011, then MoS Finance Namo Narain Meena responding to a question regarding security printing, in the Rajya Sabha, had stated that the security clearance was denied to De La Rue after they failed to comply to the specifications stipulated in the contract.”

Earlier in the month, Chandy, in a letter to Modi, cited a media report that three companies, including De La Rue, had been shortlisted for printing plastic notes, and requested the concerned ministry to “publish the list of companies that are shortlisted/qualified for printing plastic currency in India”.

He noted that the British company was denied security clearance in 2011 and the current status has not been explained.

Chandy also wrote that the company was blacklisted during the UPA’s tenure as it could not “comply to the specifications of the contract”.

Rebutting the allegation, the company in a statement on December 9, said: “De La Rue categorically refutes the defamatory and malicious allegations about its business published in Indian media.”

“De La Rue is not supplying paper for printing of Indian currency and we are not associated with printing of currency in India at present in any form. De La Rue has received no notice nor are we aware that we are blacklisted in India,” it said.

“De La Rue does not supply currency paper and is not printing currency for Pakistan and would never supply currency paper manufactured for one country to another,” the statement added.

De La Rue designs, integrates, manufactures and delivers bank notes, bank note paper, polymer and security features.