Rumours of 'radioactive ink in the new currency notes' doing rounds of the internet

Demonetisation and the introduction of new currency notes of Rs 500 along with new denomination of Rs 2000 have sparked a lot of rumours of last one month.


Demonetisation and the introduction of new currency notes of Rs 500 along with Rs 2000 have sparked a lot of rumours since their launch month. Right after the rumour of GPS chips in the latest Rs 2000 notes, many fake mobile currency scanners emerged on the app stores claiming that the new notes can be scanned in the app and authenticated by RBI to check that the note is authentic.

The latest rumour doing the rounds on internet and WhatsApp forwards is the 'apparent' presence of Radioactive ink in the new currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2000. Since the government hasn't come forward and declared anything of the sort, and just the mere common sense makes us think that this is a hoax.

According to several media organisations and WhatsApp messages, the new notes include "radioactive isotope of Phosphorous (P32), which has 15 protons and 17 neutrons". The presence of the isotope from the time of printing is a strategy which is being used to trace large quantity of money at a particular place according to these reports.

The reason this is going viral is because of the recent raids by the IT department in various locations across India. These successful raids have taken place in in Delhi, Chennai, Vellore, Bengaluru and Pune.

According to these radioactive ink rumours, the trace amount of radioactive isotope is not harmful. Also when it accumulates in one location, it signals the IT department to check for large currency accumulations in places apart from banks or other financial institutions. But the idea seems outrageous and unbelievable, since the IT department raided two banks in a month. We are not sure how the department got to know about fake bank accounts with that much unaccounted money, but logically it's real investigative work, rather than the radioactive ink.

One thing to note is that radioactive isotopes are harmful to health and no matter the decreased t/2 (half-life) of the isotope, it still has adverse effects over time. Another factor to take into account is that by the logic of 'accumulation of trace amount', there should have been many false alarms from ATMs or through the currency refilling vehicles.

So please do not help in propogation of such forwards. Last but not the least, we don't see people in Hazmat suits going in and out of the main branches of banks.

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