Obama on terror-Far from reality

President of the United States of America, Barack Obama is all set to visit India and there are plenty of expectations from him.
obmWhile economic ties and defence deals will form major part of the discussion, there are doubts about the commitment that the US has towards the issue of terrorism.
India is battling terror on many fronts and with the emergence of deadly international organizations trying to make a foot hold on Indian territory, the issue becomes even more important.

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ISI, hawala and the control

haw2When elections are round the corner, there is a surge in activity on all fronts. With elections also comes the headache for the security agencies to monitor the inflow of money through hawala transactions.
Over the past two decades, it has been found that a large amount of money is pumped into India through hawala channels at the time of the elections and several such transactions are under the direct control of the ISI, who in turn, blackmail politicians not to raise the issue as a result of which the trade goes on unabated. [Part 2: How Kerala became the hawala capital of India]

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Rajnath gets a detailed IB brief

Terrorism receives a major chunk of its funds through narcotic smuggling and the Indian routes are used very easily and this needs to be curbed at the earliest. This was the message the Intelligence Bureau headed by its chief Asif Ibrahim had to tell the Home Minister in the first official briefing to the Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh.
A series of issues were discussed and the Home Minister was told about the core areas which were leading to the massive problem of terrorism in India. An officer part of the meeting told rediff.com that this was an exercise aimed at making the Home Minister familiar with the situation before a road map could be drawn out.

Continue reading “Rajnath gets a detailed IB brief”

Spot fixing- probing the underworld link

fixingThe association between betting in cricket and the underworld has often been spoken about and the ongoing probe by the Delhi police also points towards the same. There are names that are thrown up such as Dawood Ibrahim, Sunil Abhichandani (Dubai) and Anees Ibrahim. However the fact of the matter is that these persons are outside India and in countries which will not facilitate an extradition at any cost.

There is a lot of theory that surrounds the underworld link and although the police are sure about it, they are unable to take to a logical end. Dawood and Anees are in Karachi and hoping for an extradition is something that the Indian agencies can forget about. Sunil was in Dubai in the year 2012, but there is no guarantee that he is still there considering the fact that there was a look out notice against him in the year 2012.

Continue reading “Spot fixing- probing the underworld link”

Will a change to International Noticing System bring back the terrorists

656 is not a small number to have on the most wanted list of the Interpol. India is battling a war of sorts in trying to get these persons extradited into India with the help of the Interpol and unfortunately, the battle ahead seems to be extremely difficult. Continue reading “Will a change to International Noticing System bring back the terrorists”

When netas and terrorists launder money together

Photo courtesy: http://www.wayfaring.info

Very recently a politician who was about to lose face parked a large amount of money in a bank at Mauritius. A confidential document to this effect goes on to show that post wiki leaks and the Swiss bank fiasco, a lot of the money transaction has shifted to banks in Mauritius. The bigger worry however is where there is black money terror always follows.

Mauritius is becoming a hot bed for illegal money and this is more to do with the fact that some of the banks over there have become extremely liberal. It all started with terror groups parking funds in benami names and now this has attracted money launders as well. A report by the International Monetary Fund too goes on to state that the Mauritius is becoming more global and hence the risk of laundering too has increased.

Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that there is a great deal of investment that is being found in this country and it has become very difficult to track the original source of the income. People have been found to be investing money in the names of their brothers or distant relatives and hence the trail become extremely difficult unless and until there is proper assistance from the officials of that country.

Even terrorist organisations who are supported by the well established Dawood network have been investing in a great deal of property in Mauritius. Trails of these investments can also be found in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

Investigators have found it difficult to track the money since there is a lot of mixed funding that could be found in these countries. Investigators also do not rule out the nexus between some terror groups and politicians who have used these countries as a safe parking ground for their funds. There is a need to thoroughly investigate these cases and also bifurcate between the two forms of money that is being parked over here.

The Indian IB says that there is a need to scrutinise the banks or financial institutions in particular since these can lead us up to the trail. They have become extremely liberal in nature and according to the confidential document these institutions have been offering various sops so that parking the money becomes extremely easy. Interest rates of over 20 per cent, very little questioning and documentation have made parking of illegal money very easy. Moreover they are favouring investments from non residents and there is no proper track record of those who have been laundering the money in case the need for proper documentation to track the trail arises.

For the Intelligence Bureau the bigger headache has however been the parking of terror funds in these countries. There is a steep increase of funds in the past couple of years and it is going un noticed by the government over there. The international community has not yet woken up to this grave issue like how they have done in the case of the Swiss bank and until there is a proper awareness the issue is likely to remain unresolved for many years.

While India claims that it needs to support of the international community in resolving this menace, the rest of the world feels that a lot of money that is being pumped into this country is done through the underworld and the drug cartel operating out of India. The international community states that the money that is being raised through these operations is used directly to fund terror. The hawala remittance where India is concerned has been notorious in Kerala. However there are trails to show that such money is also being pumped into Mauritius as they find it to be safer over there.

There are various reports which show that in the past three years the hawala transactions into these countries pumped in by the Underworld/drug cartel and kin of politicians amounts to nearly Rs 2000 crore. All this money according to the report was initially shown as an investment from India, but mysteriously vanished once it reached these tax havens.

The Indian Intelligence Bureau says that there is a clear bifurcation in the manner in which these terror groups have been working. They have undoubtedly been using these tax havens to park their funds, but have ensured that none of their modules have been operating out of these places. It is a deliberate ploy on their part since they too are aware that they cannot afford to have so much heat in one particular country.

A group such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has very safely installed its modules in countries such as Nepal and Maldives and they use the funds from these tax havens to carry forth their activitiy. In fact in a country such as Maldives they have managed to stake a control over the 300 odd isolated islands and their bases are being set up at a very quick pace. It is still a virgin module in Maldives and they would only use it against India when the time comes. These modules are building up slowly and today they have over a 1000 operatives at their disposal.

The worry is that they are facing no problem when raising of funds is concerned. Earlier the money raised through the drug trade and also counterfeiting was in circulation within India. However with the noose a bit tight today they have begun parking their money in these tax havens, which is surely a cause for concern for India.

India has its task cut out since any form of such activity does tend to affect us first. It is a constant cat and mouse game and there is a need to be alert at all times since terror groups have been adopting newer methods all the time. Moreover to make matters worse some of the politicians too have been using these tax havens and this gives them automatic protection since the policy to track such money becomes weak thanks to the high profile personalities involved in this money laundering racket.

What India needs to worry about the D

The Home Minister of India, P Chidambaram said a couple of days back that he is sure that Dawood Ibrahim is inPakistan. While this any child on the street could tell the more important aspect about Dawood is not the  that he is inPakistan, but the fact that he controls an empire directly linked between India-Pakistan and Dubai.

An dossier of the Intelligence Bureau in our possession would go on to suggest that he not only lives in comfort at Pakistan, but continues to run a very lucrative business. Dawood according to the dossier no doubt has a very large crime syndicate under his control, but the worrying fact is that he has also been running a couple of legitimate businesses which the Pakistan government is well aware of. This can happen only with the complete support of the establishment, Intelligence Bureau officials point out.

The business of Dawood has been split up into two-the legitimate and illegitimate one. While the illegitimate businesses comprise counterfieting, piracy, drugs, smuggling or arms etc, the legitimate businesses comprise garment trading, stock exchange dealings, cement and oil interests.

There have been a lot of allegations and counter allegations between India andPakistan regarding Dawood Ibrahim. The dossier on him states clearly that he earns at least 20000 crore per year through his dealings and at least 40 per cent of the same goes into funding terror related activities. This itself goes on to show that he is a golden goose for Pakistanand at any cost they are not prepared to lose him.

Dawood’s address from where he operates is known as the  White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton, House No 37, 30th Street, Defence Housing Authority, Karachi, Pakistan. All his operations are out of this address and what makes India’s case worse is that this area is under the control of the Pakistan army. He also owns the following the properties in Karachi- A 239, Block 13C, Gulshan-e-Iqbal 25, Rufi Cottage,  Block 13D Gulshan-e-Iqbal Ahmadi Apartments,  Gulshan-e-Iqbal Meymar Arcade, Fourth Floor,  Gulshan-e-Iqbal C-201 Karachi Development Scheme,  Extension 1A Moin Palace, Second Floor, Ghazi Dargah, Clifton Khayaban-e-Samsher.
Dawood’s control over the Indian market is a big cause for concern. He is the one primarily responsible for piracy inIndia and he runs this racket through a business establishment called as Sadaf Trading which itself is worth over a billion dollars. He has interest in Oil in the Gulf nations, cement industries inPakistan, garments and silk inChina, stock exchange inIndia. He has also started exporting a brand of tobacco toRussia under the brand name Fire which is also doing well according to IB reports.

The money that he has been earning through the above mentioned businesses are mostly parked in India with hawala dealers and a large part of the sum is also kept in benami names in various banks in both India and Pakistan. However the money that is earned through counterfieting, narcotics and arms trade is kept in circulation and large chunk is passed on for terror related operations. The ISI insists that this money is also kept in circulation in the other parts of the world and each time he has tried to send money out ofPakistanit has always been through the India Nepal border. According to security experts, it is one thing to seek the extradition of Dawood Ibrahim, but what is more important is to keep his dealings under check inIndia. Dawood’s racket could be broken a great deal ifIndiaacts more seriously on his deals in the country, security experts believe. What makes him strong is the kind of money he is able to generate out of the Indian markets, they also point out.

ForIndiato extradite Dawood is going to be herculean task. Even if there is pressure from theUnited States of America,Pakistanwould go out of its way to guard the man. In the year 2006, he was shifted to Wazirstan by thePakistanarmy to avoid any assault by theUStroops who have branded him as an international terrorist. Dawood also has a safe hide out in Jeddah and has very often moved in there at the time the heat is high on him. He continues to use two passport H 123259 and G-869537 for all his travel and these were issued to him atRawalpinditen years back.

The IB says that his businesses continue to grow with each passing day. He is becoming a headache not only for countries such asIndiaandNepal, but his drug syndicate spread acrossThailand,Kenya,MalaysiaandSingapore. The worry however is that these countries not only become transit points for the drug or counterfeit trade. There is a catch and that is he also continues to create newer routes for terror operations. With the Lashkar-e-Tayiba making every effort to go international they find their biggest help in Dawood and his network. The Lashkar has been setting up bases inSingaporeandThailand. Most of the times it has been seen that most government have been linieant while controlling the drug trade and what they do not realise is that they end up creating a route for terror operations as well. The same has happened inIndiaand today the D gang finds an easy route to smuggle arms and also fake currency.

According to the IB, Dawood enjoys a comfort level that even VIPs inPakistancould be envious of. Going by the interrogation report of Ahmed Khwaja, aHyderabadbased Lashkar operative who has visitedPakistanthe comfort levels of Dawood becomes clear. He goes on to say that he tried to see his house but was unable to due to the big fort like structure. He also said that he was told that Dawood enjoys a 10 layer security ring which many VIPs too do not have in Pakistan.

The extremist turf war in Nepal

The chargesheet in the Samjautha Express blasts case which was filed recently states that two crucial players in the case are still absconding. Ramji Kalsanghra and Sandeep Dange are two very crucial players, not only in this case but also in those incidents relating to the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts.

The National Investigating Agency does realise the importance of nabbing both these men and say that a finality to this entire terror cycle can be attained only once these two are in custody.

The NIA is on a hot trail of these two men, but the more important question is where are these men hiding. Some intelligence inputs go on to suggest that the moment was heat was up, they managed to slip into Nepal. This is not the first time that a person from this module has taken shelter in Nepal. Praveen Muthalik who is an accused in the Malegaon blasts too has taken the same route. He was however nabbed when he made a visit to India a couple of months back.

The Nepal corridor has been often discussed and this used to be a primary route for ISI sponsored terror groups. However there is now a clear turf war on in this country between the two modules-one from India and the other from Pakistan. According to sources in the Intelligence Bureau, most of the Pakistan based modules have now shifted operations to Bangladesh since they find that to be a safer haven.

When some fringe elements within the Abhinav Bharath set out to carry out terror attacks one of the aspects that was discussed was relating to the hideouts. Every terror group when it commences operations takes into consideration this very important aspect since they need to find a safe haven once the attack is carried out.

These elements had discussed the possibility of Nepal being a hide out once operations were completed. The main issue at that time however was that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Dawood Gang were using this base extensively and they did not want any clash with them. Over the years, they started to set up modules within Nepal and also created a safe route to slip out once an attack was carried out. This group however did not exercise this option for quite sometime since all the attacks that were being carried out by them were being attributed to the Muslims. However when the investigations took a different turn, some of the key men involved in the attacks began moving into Nepal. For this group Nepal was the best option since it is a familiar terrain for them. The language, the culture were similar and hence they found it easier to gel with the locals there and remain undercover.

Once these modules in Nepal were activated there were changes in the Lashkar modules. There was a clash between the two modules and this prompted the Lashkar to close down several of its modules and shift into Bangladesh.The Lashkar too found this to be a better option when compared to Nepal since their operatives were finding it more comfortable to be in Bangladesh once again due to the similarities in cultures.

Investigations into the Samjautha, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts have gone on to show that there are very few modules within India. These men did thrive on the moral support of some people. Moreover it was also learnt that they did want to keep their operations a secret and hence did not involve too many people. Right from the planning stages, to the logistics and then the execution, the operations were known only to a hand full of people. The plan was to build up more modules within India over a period of time while they had decided to use all the modules created in Nepal as hide outs.

The NIA is however doing a proper check on the whereabouts of the two absconding men and are even ready to bring them down from Nepal. There are no major issues on the diplomatic front to bring down criminals and hence this task should not be difficult. However they would want to be 100 per cent sure before they can make a final move. The NIA does realise that the probe will hit a road block if these two men are not nabbed and hence the trail on them is really hot.

FICN, 2G etc etc-D is everywhere

When the Indo-Pak talks recommence the man which India would be seeking the most is Dawood Ibrahim. He is India’s biggest menace and his network continues to be extremely strong in the country and the police force does not appear to be doing enough to stem this rot, the Intelligence Bureau says.

Be it a match fixing scandal, fake currency, drug racket and now the infamous 2G scam, they all have imprints of the notorious Dawood Ibrahim, security agencies point out. Sources say that the talks between the two countries will focus largely on the D factor and India will hand out proof of his existence at Karachi and how he is being sheltered by the ISI.

In the past two weeks, the D gang has figured in two very major incidents. The death of Sadiq Batcha and now the match fixing scandal. When Batcha committed suicide it was said by investigating agencies that there was a huge hawala racket attached to this scam which the police were all set to bust. Unfortunately the name of Dawood figured in this hawala transaction as such things involving such huge chunks of cash can be done only by someone like Dawood and his men. The CBI’s was planning on questioning Balwa whose company the intelligence suspect had links with the D gang.

Proof of the Dawood Ibrahim link to the 2G scam comes out in the open now, with membes of his gang handing out a threat to blow up the CBI office in New Delhi. The CBI is in possession of documents which pin point to the D connection and further probing would have gone on to reveal the exact link between this gang and a host of other Indians who were involved in this scam. The CBI has informed the Ministry of Home affairs regarding this threat and security has been beefed up around the CBI office which houses the documents pertaining to the multi crore 2G scam. In addition to this security has also been beefed up in the other centres of the CBI which is handling the 2G spectrum scam.

The other issue that connects the D gang is the latest revealation of the Australia-Zimbabwe game being fixed. The police have claimed that they picked up three men belonging to the D gang who had fixed the game. The anti corruption wing of the ICC has been informed about the same. It is said that the men indulged in spot fixing as a result of which the Aussies had scored slowly in the first ten overs of the game.

The Aussies have however rubbished this and say that the ICC is not looking into any such charge. Sources however point out that the matter is still in a very preliminary stage and the interrogation of the three men will throw more light on the case. It is hard to come to any conclusion whether the match was fixed or not. The three men who were picked up were in the same hotel to do the same thing that is being alleged. Whether they managed to get access to the players and whether they did finally manage to convince them is something which will trickle in soon.

While there is confusion over the fixing of this game, the security agencies say that the D gang is very much into this business. It is rated at number 3 in their list of notorious activities after fake currency and hawala. They have their men all over the world who manage this business and despite tracking down almost every move, they still do manage to get in touch with the players through international calls which suggests that a large part of the fixing is also done from outside the country.

While these are issues that will come up for discussion during the talks between the two nations, it looks like India is finally accepting that the D gang did have a role to play in the 26/11 attack. Despite the media reporting it over and over again, the investigators had refused to accept that the D gang was even remotely involved in this incident. Today India finds the need to investigate deeper into the D connection to the 26/11 attack. The issue of local help has always been a question mark and despite David Headley singing in front of the NIA, they have never been establish the local link properly. During the talks the D issue will be debated with Pakistan and India will go that extra mile to point out the importance of Dawood.

The IB says that getting Dawood is like almost putting an end to most of India’s troubles. He is a key player in the terrorist rung in India since he continues to be their primary funder. Be it through money earned by drug smuggling or fake currency racket or even a hawala transaction, nearly 40 per cent of this money lands up with the ISI which uses it for terror operations.

India will hand out a dossier which would include the name of Dawood and 400 other terrorists who are believed to be sheltered in Pakistan. Security agencies however say that it appears highly unlikely that Pakistan will hand over custody of Dawood since they would not want the ISI to lose their trump card. His custody would spell doom not only for operations in Pakistan but will also reveal the big names in India who have been associated with him in the past many years.