DAMMAM: SIRAJ WAHAB
Published — Wednesday 13 February 2013
Last update 13 February 2013 1:25 am
The Central Bank of Oman’s (CBO) advisory to Omanis and expatriates not to carry Indian currency has caused consternation among the large Indian community in the Kingdom.
The bank said it was issuing the directive following the discovery of fake Indian currency notes in Oman and other Gulf countries.
In an official statement, the bank said: “Following reports about the presence of amounts of counterfeit Indian rupees currency in the local market and the markets of neighboring countries, the bank urges all nationals and expatriates traveling to India to avoid the Indian rupee.”
“This is alarming,” said Nahid Mustafa, an Indian expatriate based in Alkhobar.
According to reports in the Omani media, the CBO issued the directive following the arrest in Kerala of an Omani couple over using fake rupees to settle their hotel bill. The couple had gotten the rupee in lieu of the Omani rials from an authorized money changer in Oman early this month. The couple is still in jail and the Omani and the Indian authorities are studying their case.
This is not the first time an Omani national has been caught carrying fake Indian currency. It seems there have been five such cases in recent months. It has alarmed both Omani and Indian authorities. The Omani bank has also issued strict guidelines to money-exchange offices in Oman following the arrests of Omani nationals in India. “Lack of seriousness on the part of exchange companies is unacceptable and shall be viewed seriously," the bank said.
“There is a lesson for all of us in this whole controversy,” said Wajed Salim, a Jeddah-based Indian expat. “I used to covert money at the airport here while heading home to get better rates; now I will not.”