• Farmers in an MP village were issued Rs 2000 notes from an SBI branch with the image of Mahatma Gandhi missing
  • Bank officials confirmed the notes were genuine, and the image of Mahatma Gandhi was missing because of a “printing error.”

The Rs 2,000 notes at an SBI branch in MP’s Sheopur districtThe Rs 2,000 notes at an SBI branch in MP’s Sheopur district

BHOPAL: Farmers from a remote village in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district were taken aback when they received newly printed Rs 2000 notes without the image of Mahatma Gandhi from a State Bank of India branch. They thought the notes were fake. But when bank officials were approached, they took back the notes and said they were “genuine”.

The image of Mahatma Gandhi was missing from the notes because of a “printing error”, the farmers were told. Banking and police sources told TOI that many such defective, yet genuine, currency notes were in circulation in the region.

Krishna Meena from Bicchugavdi village didn’t even notice something was amiss when he received a Rs 2000 rupee note from the SBI branch on Tuesday. It was only when he went to market that he was alerted by another farmer who had two similar notes. Both teamed up and went back to the SBI branch, which promptly took back the “faulty” notes.

“The incident took place at Shivpuri Road branch of SBI. The notes were not counterfeit, but probably there was some printing error. They were taken back as soon as it (the error) was detected,” said Sheopur district manager of SBI, Akash Shrivastav. Shrawanlal Meena, manager of Shivpuri Road branch, elaborated: “The space meant for the picture is blank. We have taken the notes back.” 

Currency notes with Mahatma Gandhi’s picture were printed and issued by RBI from 1996 onwards. Since then, the ‘Gandhi Series’ of bank notes replaced all previous currency as legal tender. Post demonetisation, the new notes that have been printed were christened as the ‘Mahatma Gandhi New Series’. This series of ‘faulty’ notes, sources told TOI, were printed at Bank Note Press in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. The officials concerned could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

This is not the first time that defective “genuine” bank notes have been printed in the country. Earlier, the government Security Paper Mill in Hoshangabad printed about 80,000 pieces of Rs 500 notes and 10,000 pieces of Rs 1,000 notes with security threads missing. The magnetic security thread with inscriptions ‘Bharat’ and ‘RBI’ is one of the most distinguishing features of an Indian currency note, a safeguard against counterfeiting.