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.