Terror finance-what these agencies need to do

Photo courtesy: reasonforliberty.com

Recently two wings called the Combating of Funding of Terrorists and the Terror Funding and Fake Currency were set up. While the CFT would be under the Ministry for Home Affairs the TFFC was a wing created under the National Investigation Agency.

The primary objective of both these wings was to study and also combat the various methods adopted by terrorists in funding terror operations in the country.

The challenges before the two agencies are immense and what one realizes today is that the network that terrorists have set up is deep rooted. When one speaks about terror funding the first thing that goes into the mind is fake currency. Although Indian agencies claim that they have curbed this menace a great deal, the problem is still immense.

Latest reports by the Intelligence Bureau suggest that such money is not just being pumped in from Pakistan. Pakistan does continue to be a primary player in the fake currency racket, but over the past couple of months, several agencies who are probing these cases have found that newer channels have been opened up to pump fake currency. China and Thailand have become major players and this has only added to the misery of investigators in India.

Sources said that they see the same pattern that was used while pumping in fake currency from Pakistan. The drug route is what was used from Pakistan to pump in fake currency and also ammunition and today they see the same modus operandi from China and also Thailand.

Investigators have been studying the China and Thailand route since the past one year and today they confirm that these countries have become major players. There are at least 30 different routes from both these countries which are being used to pump in fake currency.

Earlier the notes were printed in Pakistan and also distributed from there. However now the notes are printed in Pakistan and then sent into Nepal, China and also Thailand before it is pumped into India. Most of the money that is sent to China is sent directly to India and it has been found that Uttar Pradesh is the main collecting point. In the past one year nearly Rs 5000 crore worth of fake currency has been pumped into Uttar Pradesh from the new routes.

The NIA says that there is a need for a lot of international cooperation which is required to curb this problem. These notes have spread like cancer into the Indian market and it will take a very long time before it is cleared out, the NIA also points out. The problem is that terrorist groups do realize that this is a lucrative manner for them to raise funds and also destablise the Indian economy and hence what we realize is that when one route shuts off the other one opens up for them. In China these persons have even gone up to the extent of setting up proper collection channels and networks. It is first sent to them and then distributed into India.

While the China network continues to be a headache for the security agencies, they also find that there are networks being opened up in Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and very recently Sri Lanka.

While this is one part of the headache the other big issue that the TFFC and the CFT face is funding through a hawala network. Kerala is a key destination for hawala funding since it has a lot of money flow from the Gulf. The remittance runs into over 20,000 crore per year and a large part of it has been found to fund subversive activities.

The police say that they are confident that over the next few years the remittance through hawala will reduce considerably since the scrutiny is very heavy. Moreover what the new agencies probing these cases have found is that there is a bigger chance of such money being seized since it is done through one dedicated channel. Hence the reliance on hawala money for terror operations is also likely to come down. In addition to this it has also been found that countries such as the UAE which houses most of these hawala operators linked to India have slowly started to move away from this business. There have been instances to show that some of them have already moved into the fake currency racket and hence the number of networks in the Gulf handling fake money has also increased over the past couple of months.

While hawala and fake currency will continue to be under scrutiny in the days to come the donations will also come under the radar. It has been noticed that for small operations, terror groups are relying heavily on donations from sympathizers and more often than not they do not need to look outside the country for the same. Hence these agencies would have that additional job to undertake.

The new wings handling terror funding have in all 45 cases to handle. Officials in the new agencies say that they are in touch with the police from all across the country and each case big or small they would want to be kept in the loop about. In addition to this they are seeking the help of financial institutions such as banks which have become a major parking space for fake currency. It has been witnessed on more than one occasion that fake currency has been parked in banks.

Officials from the TFFC say that they would be setting up a proper data bank on this subject. More often than not it does help a lot to have the correct source of the financing since it makes cracking a case pertaining to terrorism easier. The foot soldiers always manage to give the slip and more often than not there is not much of a trail that is left. Even in the Delhi blasts case what they would now be looking for is the funding for the attack since this will lead them to the exact trail. Hence dedicated agencies such as these become very important to the case.

Kar Guv accepts Lokayukta’s resignation

The Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj has accepted the resignation of Justice Shivraj Patil who stepped down as the Lokayukta yesterday. The Governor in a communication from the Raj Bhavan stated that the resignation has been accepted. Justice Patil had submitted his resignation to the Governor after allegations in connection with a land scam were made against him.

Raids on BSY’s son-in-law ‎

The Lokayukta police of Karnataka are conducting raids at the residence of Sohan Kumar, son-in-law of former Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa. The raids are being conducted in connection with the Upper Bhadra case and the same was confirmed by ADGP, Lokayukta J Gaonkar.

The allegation was that a contractor had paid some money to Sohan Kumar for an alleged favour in connection with the project.

Kar Lokayukta resigns

Justice Shivraj Patil, Lokayukta of Karnataka has tendered his resignation to the Governor of Karnataka. Justice Patil announced this at a press briefing a while ago in Bangalore.
Addressing the media he said that he did not aspire or ask for the position of Karnataka Lokayukta. I accepted it as an opportunity to serve the people of the state of Karnataka with commitment and concern . A malicious campaign has been carried out in the past few days against me.I wish to clarify for people to know and judge for themselves on the issue of the allotment and holding of sites by my wife and myself.
In the year 1982 when I was a practicing lawyer at the High court ofKarnataka, I purchased a small site at Vasanthnagar, Bangalore from aprivate individual and built my residence. The same was neither allotted bythe Government nor any society.Thereafter, in the year 1994 while I was a Judge of the High Court I was allotted a site in the Judicial Layout by the Karnataka Judicial Department
All the purchases havebeen through legitimate funds generated and are accounted for.On assuming the office of Lokayukta, I voluntarily declared my assets reflecting the above. Despite having no justification an issue was sought to be raised in this regard, taking into account the position I held, to avoid a public debate, which would detract from my functioning and my moral authority to deal with men and matter. All these assignments including my current one as Lokayukta I have done to the best of my ability and with aclear conscience.This malicious campaign has deeply hurt and pained me. My only discomforting thought is, am I giving up this office yieldingto the malicious campaign of a few and letting down the hopes of many who had reposed their faith in me.

Reading into Agra blasts

The National Investigating Agency which is being kept busy with the probe into the Delhi blasts has now been taking a close look at the blast at Agra which took place on Saturday.

A day after the attack four persons were detained and questioned. The police however have not managed to get much out of them, but today continue to look into smaller modules which could have possibly carried out such an attack.

Although Agra has been a terror target since it is a tourist attraction, the police have not really been able to find any proper activity by fringe groups till date. According to the police there are some small cells in this region, but they have mostly found them to be self motivated. There are spill over factions from Delhi and Old Delhi which are working in Agra and they are not capable of carrying out big attacks. However these modules can be irritants and are capable of carrying out such small time attacks only to create diversions.

Sources in the NIA say that they would want to look at the Agra blast along with the Delhi blasts and see if there was any connection. There is nothing conclusive at the moment to show that it was an act of terror, but when you read this attack with the recent intelligence warning regarding Agra, it is an angle that we would want to explore.

The intelligence warning which was sounded in respect of Agra spoke about an attack on tourist places. Further it was also said that some youth from Delhi who are still upset with the Batla House encounter are forming smaller groups to carry out such strikes. Hospitals have always been soft targets and it is probably the easiest place to sneak a bomb into. There is a lot of activity and one can see that even in bigger places security at hospitals is very low. Moreover the Indian Mujahideen has carried out an attack in a hospital during the Ahmedabad blasts.

The investigations meanwhile are progressing into the Agra blasts. The preliminary report regarding the explosives have shown that there was a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulphur and charcoal and the same was packed with sharp objects in a cylindrical object. An IED was used to trigger the bomb with a nine volt battery.

Investigating agencies say that they have however found no connection between the Delhi and Agra blasts. Although it is suspected that it was carried out to confuse investigators, there is no direct link that has been found. However if the NIA says it is the HuJI which has carried out the Delhi blasts, it is not necessary that a module of the HuJi necessarily had to carry out a blast in Agra to divert investigators. Terror modules of different groups do not necessarily intereact with each other, but they do understand each others interests and can act on behalf of one another in times of need. This could have been the case in the Agra blasts and an angle that investigators are exploring. Terror groups do realize that some inroads are being made in the Delhi blasts and the NIA has even taken the probe down south. They are planning on questioning some operatives in Kerala which include T Nasir the accused in the Bangalore blasts case. Although there may not be any direct link with the Delhi blasts, it would help the NIA understand the formation of the HuJI in India better, NIA sources also said.

Blackout in Hyderabad

The battle for Telangana is expected to get uglier with the activists planning a power shut down in Hyderabad next week. The Telangana Rastriya Samithi which plans on leading this agitation is meeting with electricity board officials in this regard.

TRS general Secretary, Subhash Reddy informed that the power would be blacked out in Hyderabad next week onwards. This is just one of the many protests before a rail rokho would be staged from September 24th onwards. The electricity board officials from Telangana region will have a meeting tomorrow to chalk out this programme. However it has been decided the black out would not be in the entire Telangana region. It would be restricted to Hyderabad alone. We have decided not to implement this programme in the rest of Telangana since this could affect the lives of the farmers. They need power for their livelihood and we do not want that to get affected Reddy also informed. He further informed that in the next round they have also told auto drivers to stay off the road and stated that such agitations would continue until the union government made a proper decision.

Tie up: Reddy also answers the big question about a tie up with the Congress. He says that at the moment there is nothing on the cards. However once the Telangana bill is passed in the parliament and it reaches the President of India will the TRS think of any tie up with the Congress. He was however non committal about a merger and spoke only about a tie up, but added that there will be no form of commitment until the bill is passed in the Parliament. He also added that the TRS would not become weak if the Congress declared Telangana and added that the people know who is responsible for this movement. He also rubbished claims that the TRS was cozying up to Jagan Mohan Reddy. It is clear that he will support only a unified Andhra Pradesh and when this is his stand there is no question of us going anywhere near him.

Agra: An act of personal rivalry or terror?

As the Uttar Pradesh police continues to quiz four persons in connection with the Agra blasts there are very few indications for now to suggest that it was an act of terror. Sources informed that it could be an act conducted due to personal rivalry.
However the police are not ruling out other possible angles to the attack and say that there are various other teams on the job as well. The ATS which is also conducting the probe says that other possibilities of small terror modules are being looked into but for the moment it appears unlikely.
A report that was sent out to the Home Ministry also suggested that it is too early to suggest that the blast was undertaken by a terrorist group. There is a motive of personal rivalry as per the preliminary investigations, the report also stated.
The FSL which has collected evidence is also looking into the material used for the blast. The police say it is not suprising to see such material such as IEDs being used since this part of UP has always been notorious for such activity.

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Agra blast- what is the motive?

Small leads seem to be emerging from the blast site at Agra. As the police and various other teams try and make sense out of the incident, there appears to be no clear motive behind the attack.
Intelligence Bureau officials point out that there appears to be no immediate motive found but for the moment it looks like the blast was undertaken in order to create a possible diversion.
The blast is clearly a low intensity one and it becomes clear that it was a hurried operation and not intended at causing a major destruction. Although it is too early to pin point and say it was an act by a terrorist organisation, it cannot be ruled out. Agra has been on their radar and inputs had been shared in this regard.
The investigations into the Delhi blasts have been showing some progress and after Varanasi and 13/7 invesitgators were puzzled with this new kind of attacks. The NIA had shown some progress after the Delhi blasts and investigations had started showing some direction. This blast could well be a diversionary tactic. There have been instances in the past where these persons have carried out small blasts in order to distract investigators. This blast could also be one such operation.
Meanwhile the Home Department has stated that it appears to be a low intensity blast. investigators have also found wires and batteries at the spot which were used to trigger the bomb. However the verification of the substance is still on and the FSL team which is collecting evidence will be able to give a clearer picture.

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General alert sounded across the country

Moments after the blast at Agra a general alert has been sounded by the Intelligence Bureau. The police across the country have been advised not to let their guard down since terror groups are likely to be carrying out blasts in a specific pattern.
An alert was already in place after the Delhi blasts and the entire nation was on high alert.
The alert says that some elements could carry out attacks on low security areas and also places which are not on the radar. There is a pattern being noticed since the 13/7 blasts and some groups could take advantage of the volatile situation to strike at some places.

Agra was under radar: IB

Photo courtesy: Zee News

Even as the Uttar Pradesh police try and ascertain the nature and the cause of the blast at Agra today, it is interesting to note that there was a specific intelligence alert in respect of Agra around 20 days back. The IB alert had suggested that smaller towns could be targeted and Agra was one of the cities under the radar.
Sources in the intelligence bureau informed that it is not yet ascertained that it is an act of terror but also added that Agra was always under the radar. Sources also added that this belt is notorious for the use of weapons and there has been open movement of explosives. However it is for the first time that such an attack has occured. The incidents in the past have mainly been restricted to political violence and gang wars. However innocents have not been targeted.
The IB said that there are small modules of various terror groups working in these areas and the procurements of material has always been easy. Officials say they still ascertaining the cause and nature of the blast. The FSL team has now reached the spot and a first look at the incident suggests that it was a low intensity blast.
The Anti Terror Squad is also at the spot and is studying the incident.