NIA’s Kerala headache

The list of terrorists from Kerala is shooting up and the National Investigating Agency has been drawing up several lists which indicate that the problem is grave. Although the NIA has not been able to make much sense out of the manner in which these groups or individuals work but they do realise that the patterns that they have been seeing is quite disturbing.

Recently added into the list of absconders are Mohammad Ashar and P Yusuf the two accused in the Kozhikode twin blasts case. The NIA has now written to the Ministry of Home Affairs to act against these two persons  and request that an Interpol alert is issued against the duo.

The duo according to the investigation had no real inkling towards terror until the year 2003. They then came in contact with T Nasir who is also an accused in the Bangalore blasts case and from here their journey into terrorism commenced. In fact for the twin blasts at the bus stand in Kozhikode in the year 2006 the material was arranged by Yusuf while the bomb was prepared in the house of Ashar. Both these persons hail from Cheruparamba and Thaliparamba near Kannur which is notorious for its communal wars. This itself explains in detail the progrom of these two men into the world of terror, an NIA source said.

The NIA has been digging deep into the networks of Kerala and so far have realised that most of the cases associated with this state are largely political in nature. The closest that any agency has come is to Abdul Nasar Madani a politician himself. In fact it was the interrogation of T Nasir that blew the lid and made it very clear as to how important a role politics and terror play in this state.

The information that has been trickling in from the various accused who have been nabbed do not give a complete picture. However what investigators realise is that it is a cocktail of both politics and terror that is playing truant in the state. The likes of Ashar and Yusuf would have a lot of details with them and it is necessary to corborate them in order to get the correct picture. There is a need to nail those in power since they stir up the emotions of several youth when the elections are round the corner. Nasir himself during his interrogation said that they were well aware that politicians were looking for people like him and for a quick buck they undertook such activities. To the world it looked like a jihadi operation but in reality many of these attacks have been politically motivated. The NIA investigation has also found that such incidents lead up to the arrest of several youth and this becomes a plank during the elections. Such incidents are on the rise.

Now with the NIA on the trail of the above two mentioned youth it would be interesting to see what they would actually have on them once nabbed. Yusuf according to an Intelligence Bureau report is away at Saudi Arabia while Ashar is at Dubai. These youth from Kerala continue to find the Gulf as a safe haven due to the large number of sympathisers over there. Moreover the entire money trail for any terror operation in Kerala is from the Gulf.

The NIA is also foxed with the ease in which they managed to slip out. The latest information suggests that the two have decent jobs and life for them is pretty much normal. Not only do they enjoy a lot of political patronage, but also have the right set of contacts to give the police the slip over here. Today the NIA is in touch with the Dubai police seeking help to nab these persons.

The NIA during its probe has found the mindset among several youth to be extremely dangerous in Kerala. They openly support Jihadi groups in Pakistan and have started to believe that this is the ideology that needs to be followed. This has made terror an open racket in Kerala. Not only do these persons recruit with ease, have no issues where the funding too is concerned.

NIA officials say that it is difficult to make sense out of the operations over here. It is chaotic one could say. They have an ideology and do subscribe to the views of various outfits. However what makes the job harder is that they also know fully well on how to operate individually in smaller groups which makes the job even worse. Although not an impossible task it would still take time to shut down the terror shop in this state, the NIA also pointed out. This could happen with a higher rate of conviction and a stronger policy apart from some excellent investigation.

A re-packaged IM-deadly and dangerous

The Indian Mujahideen is expected to return with a bang. An Indian Intelligence Bureau report indicates that the group which was wiped out to a large extent in India will make a come back as there are intercepts to show that heavy training activity in Pakistan.
The top leadership is very much intact and earlier news relating to the death of Riyaz Bhatkal is false since the man is very much around. It was a fabricated alert that trickled in from Pakistan regarding the death of Bhatkal. Normally the ISI does put out such information in order to lower the heat. However it is very clear that there is still utility of the man.
This is very clear going by the latest intercept the IB says. Bhatkal today is the Indian face of the outfit and he has a good reach in the country. While Amir Reza Khan continues to be the over all boss of the IM Bhatkal is still in charge of operations in India.
There are exactly 46 training camps in Pakistan today. Four are dedicated to the Indian Mujahideen and there are around 80 to 90 cadres all of Indian origin who train in these camps. The kind of training which is being imparted in handling of arms, preparing bombs and more important collection of intelligence.
For the IM the most important aspect would be to set up their modules once again in India. Currently the country is witnessing a strange wave of terror which are carried out by individuals. The IM is well aware of such a modus operandi but has let this continue as an interim measure. They had 60 modules across the country, but now it has been reduced to 25 and these do not have the full capabilities as of now.
Primary on their agenda would be to rebuild these modules and in this regard the Indian operatives sheltered in Pakistan would hold the key. Despite areas like Azamgarh, Old Delhi, Kerala and Hyderbad generating heat the IM would still aim at recreating modules in these areas. The other interesting aspect is the creation of modules in Gujarat which has been known for its tough terror laws. To create modules in these areas is a challenge but these groups have found the recruitment process to be easier due to various factors the main one being high communal sentiments.
The overall scenario if grim in the Indian perspective. It would continue to a battle for Indian security forces since Pakistan is just not ready to give up the Indian face of terror. There are limitations while launchin Pakistan based groups on Indian soild. There are issues of infiltration and international issues which act as a deterent for Pak based groups. Moreover a 26/11 type attack is not something they would like to have every now and then. Hence it becomes important to have a dedicated Indian group which can be a constant irritant.
The IB intercept also points towards training the IM operatives in water attacks. They do realise that the coasts are still vulnerable and hence would like to operate on sea. States such as Gujarat will need to be constantly on high alert due to this factor as what this group is planning are not terror attacks but a major war from within.
The recruitment drive is heavy and cadres are being picked up from all parts of the country. Terror groups have even set shop in religious places and a process to recruit youth from such places is on in full swing. They have the data base of at least 4000 families who they feel have been affected by police atrocities and hence such people are being tarhetted.
The IM will surely make a come back in the name of Brigade 313. It is expected to be lethal and would rely on all forms of attacks including fidayeen styled attacks. There would be focus not only on bomb blasts, but suicide attacks and also abductions and extortion rackets. The idea is chaos.

“Freelance Jihad”

It is a concept know as freelance Jihad and these traits were found following theVaranasiand 13/7 blasts. There was a great deal of suspicion regarding this concept and investigators had started to make sense out of it after these two blasts.

This has raised a very big question about the manner in which terror operations would be carried out inIndiain the future and today going by the investigations into the Delhi High Court blasts it becomes clear that this is nothing but a concept known as outsourced or freelance Jihad.

In this context the investigation/interrogation of Waseem Malik, an accused in theDelhiblasts becomes important.

At the start of the interrogation the National Investigating Agency believed that Malik a resident of Kashmir who studied inBangladeshwas an operative of the Jaish-e-Mohammad. However as they continued to interrogate him it became clear that he only followed their ideology and did not have a direct link with the outfit. During the probe they have also found he had arranged for a couple of like minded boys to carry out theDelhioperation and during a visit toIndiafromBangladesh, he actually finalised the entire plan.

In reality the entireDelhiplot is still a mystery and it would be a while before the real picture comes out. There is a great deal of confusion regarding the men who carried out the blasts as some Intelligence reports also went on to suggest that this could well be a ploy between the Babbar Khalsa International and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The NIA says it is looking into leads and at this point in time they would not want to say much about the progress of the investigations. The leads are strong and we will shortly crack is what they say. Regarding the interrogation of Malik, they say he has been speaking about the operation and has also told them from Bangaladesh he had gone toDelhiwhere he met up with a couple of youth with whom he planned this attack. Going by the initial reports it is clear that he had masterminded the operation.

While the operation by Malik is something that is being probed the bigger angle to be looked into is this new concept which is becoming quite an irritating trend today. Right from Kerala toKashmirthis trend is being found and this has eventually led to the creation of splinter groups which again has made the job of security agencies a big headache.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that these boys just subscribe to the views of a particular organisation and then they carry out a blast in the name of that outfit. Most of the time these outfits would not even know about the existence of such persons and the more interesting part is that they don’t not even object to someone subscribing to their ideology and carrying out an attack in their name.

The trend basically of carrying out attacks individually started in Kerala. T Nasir, the accused in theBangaloreblast is the man who set this precedent. However today one can get to see such trends in Kashmir, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh andDelhi. Earlier there were individuals who subscribed the views of the Indian Mujahideen and carried out attacks in Uttar Pradesh and also Old Delhi. Today that trend can be found inKashmirand the Delhi High Court is one such example. The IB says that even terror groups have intentionally let such individuals carry out such attacks. They do not provide any support materially or financially and have no qualms about their name being used. These youth who operate individually have managed to learn the tricks of the trade on their own. Procuring ammunition is also not an issue since they have access to several persons who can arrange for the same. The person who supplies the material is also another individual and would have procured the material either through some terror group or stolen it from a place where it has been seized.

These terror groups are aware that such operations will only create havoc in the Indian security system and they are quite pleased that such activities are taking place. What makes matters worse is that after the incident, police keep groping in the dark since they never seem to find a pattern.

Take the case of Malik. As per his interrogation he was just a medical student. However he felt very strongly about theKashmircause and also goes on to say that he hero worshipped Afzal Guru. This is one of the reasons why the mail sent out after the Delhi High Court blast had a mention about the Afzal Guru death row. He said that he felt very strongly about this issue and felt that he needed to do something about it. He had started off as a normal human being but later realised that he needed to do something forKashmirsince he felt that there was too much injustice. He gradually started to believe that Jihad was the only way out and he had planned on dedicating his life for the cause. He felt that the people ofKashmirhad waited long enough and had borne the brunt of draconian terror laws.

The IB says that Malik is just one such person in this entire mess. There is a gradual movement of radicalisation which is on in various parts of the country and the more one digs into the last few incidents of terror this fact becomes evident. At first investigators were under the impression that theVaranasi, 13/7 and the Delhi High Court blasts were inter connected. However today one fact becomes clear and that all these were individual operations and in the days to come there would be more such incidents of freelance Jihad.

Terror finance-what these agencies need to do

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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.

Jihad-from Kashmir to Kerala

The National Investigating Agency has claimed that it has almost cracked the Delhi blasts case. It is now ascertained that it was an operation planned in the Kishtwar region of Jammu and Kashmir.

However the big question is whether this case is that simple. The angle which both the NIA and the IB would be looking to probe now is whether this new network in Kashmir has a connection with other networks across the country.

The primary issue that has been noticed is that a lot of the funds that are being generated for terror related operations have stopped being generated by the Northern part of the country. There is a great deal of funding that can be witnessed from down South and of the 45 strong cases of money laundering for terror operations, nearly 25 are from South.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that it has been noticed that a large part of the money for operations in the Valley are coming in from states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The Kashmir network is very heavily dependant on the funds from Kerala and what is worse is that it has become an extremely easy channel for terror operatives.

The interrogations that are being conducted into the Delhi blasts is expected to provide an answer to this and that would soon become a focal point of the investigations. A senior police official from Kerala confirms that there is a request from both the IB as well the NIA to provide more details about the networks in the state which are linked to Kashmir.  We have conducted our own investigations and have found on more than many ocassions a direct link between the state and the Valley.

The Kerala-Kashmir link was set up at the insistence of Ilyas Kashmiri who had a year back announced openly that he would train a lot of cadres from the Southern state. The statement was just an indication about the role Kashmiri who is also the HuJI boss wanted the cadres from Kerala to play. The ISI and also the HuJI understands the potential in Kerala for two reasons. The first one of course is that it is a hub for Hawala transactions and a lot of that money can be transferred to terror operations. Secondly there is a volatile environment in this state and it is easier to pick up recruits. There is also another aspect to this entire saga and that is there are several youth who do not require any sort of motivation from external forces. There are several self motivated youth who feel strongly about several issues and are ready to carry out operations on their own.

Today when one looks at the terror networks in Kerala it becomes clear that there is no proper organization and command. What the HuJI is trying to do is to bring them all under one forum so that a formidable force is prepared.

Two years back there was an interesting incident emerging out of Kerala which showed signs of the link to the Valley. During a gun battle in the Valley with hardcore terror cadres, it was found that seven of them were from Kerala. This was probably for the first time that Indians were engaged in a fidayeen battle in the Valley and this made the entire country sit up and take notice. During the probe it was also found that several 100 youth from Kerala had gone missing and could have possibly been taken in by Jihadist groups fighting in Kashmir.

As the investigations progressed there were more leads that emerged and a probe which was also conducted by the Bangalore police also led to the arrest of a key operative by the name Sarfaraz Nawaz. This person was brought in from Muscat and it was found that he was a key operative who reported to a module in Kerala. During the probe he also told his interrogators that there was a constant effort being made to set up a proper channel between Kerala and Kashmir.

Today when the investigations into the Delhi blasts are being conducted, the team feels that it should dig deeper into the Kerala network since it has a direct Kashmir connection. What they are tying to look into is whether a module from Kerala helped carry out this attack. They are also trying to find out how much of the funds sourced from Kerala for activities in the Valley were used for this blast. It would also be interesting for the investigators to find out if there is a dedicated channel in Kerala which is helping setting up a huge HuJI base in Kashmir.

The HuJI according to intelligence reports has been trying to make inroads in the Valley. Ever since the big boss Kashmiri made the statement regarding a fight in Kashmir, there has been a lot of effort on part of these cadres to set up a network. While it may have been tough for them to recruit cadres from other parts of the country, they did find it relatively easy to pick up cadres from Kerala.

For this the investigators would revisit the statements given by Nawaz and also T Nasir since these men have spoken about how they were trying to select cadres for operations in Kashmir. What becomes clear is that the HuJI has not only been looking to set up a proper base in Kashmir, but also create smaller groups so that it can carry out terror activities in other parts of the countries.

It needs to be curbed says an officer with the IB. The Kerala to Kashmir route is something that can turn out to be a big headache and it is very important to understand and crack this soon. This would also require a lot of help from countries such as Oman since a major part of the Kerala module which takes care of the funding is settled there. The Oman link the Saudi connection will all come into play during the investigation since investigators today believe that the Delhi blasts is just a pointer of things to come and it is important that it is curbed before it becomes a headache that none can cure.

13/7 and the money trail

As the police continue to look for vital leads into the 13/7 serial blasts, there appears to be few details regarding the money trail that is emerging at the moment. The police are questioning at least five persons in this regard and it appears that the money for the blasts was channelized from the Gulf for this operation.

The investigators have found some similarities between the Varanasi operation and this case at least where the money trail is concerned and nailing this link would help the investigation a great deal.

Four different persons who are involved in counterfeiting of Indian currency are currently under the scanner and their interrogation is likely to spring out some important leads, investigators also point out.

The first link that the police are looking for is whether the absconding members of the Indian Mujahideen and the Students Islamic Movement of India  have arranged for the money. In the Varanasi blasts, the police had found that money had been raised from the Gulf with the help of Asadullah Akthar, a member of the IM who is absoconding ever since the Batla House encounter. Over the past couple of years, investigators have found that the money coming into India for terror operations have all been from the Gulf and this is an indication the money route is well channelized. Money has been coming in from UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman through various channels. This could be the case in the 13/7 attack too, sources added.

Investigators however point out that for the 13/7 attacks the money involved was not huge and it was a very small operation compared to the various other operations. Sources say that the terrorists could have spent anything between Rs 20 to 25 thousand for this operation. When one looks at the operation, it becomes clear that not much money was spent for this attack.

The money trail in the recent spate of blasts starting at Bangalore has been quite different, the police say. These terrorists have found sympathizers in the Gulf who are ready to give them the money to carry out subversive activities. T Nasir, the prime accused in the Bangalore blasts had adopted this strategy and had raised money through one such sympathizer whose identity is not known till date. The money is either pumped into India through a hawala channel or is arranged to be picked up in India directly, the police say.

The 13/7 investigations may not have provided any leads as of now and hence police are very seriously looking into the money trail in this case. They expect to find some clues while looking into this angle of the case, sources also point out. The ATS has formed a special team to probe various persons involved in the fake currency racket. The ATS believes that these are the persons who can give vital clues into the money trail which at the end would help nab the suspects.  They are looking to find out whether this money was raised through a channel in the Gulf or Bangladesh.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau however point out that more often than not they have tracked the money trail to the Gulf while the manpower has been provided by the Bangladesh module. However in the case of 13/7, the intelligence bureau says that the foot soldiers were most likely from India itself and the money could have been arranged through their contacts in the Gulf.

Counterfiet currency and a hawala channel will be the two most important angles to be looked into. This would also mean that the police are looking very seriously into the operation of the SIMI module in Kerala. The IB says that when it comes to channelizing money from the Gulf the safest route that these terrorists have found is through Kerala. There is a great amount of hawala remittance into this state and hence terrorists have found it easy to pick up the cash for their operations. However the police are also not ruling out the possibility of the money being raised internally and hence it is important for them to probe the fake currency operators who have always been a source of support for terror operations in India, the police also say.

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A headche called KFD

The Karnataka Forum for Dignity- is this a disaster waiting to happen? A link with the Students Islamic Movement of India and then a probe whether this forum was connected to the ISI? These are lurking questions as the police spend day and night to probe the antecedents of this outfit and its members.

Officers on the job and sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that there is a lot of activity which can be noticed on part of this organisation. The ultimate goal of this organisation is to have a political status, but the worry is that they do not want it to be turn into another political wing with terror affiliations. We would want to curb all activities before it turns political, because once that happens then it becomes virtually impossible to handle them due to political links.

A couple of months back the probe against the members of this organisation was on in full swing. The Bangalore police and the IB were jointly probing this outfit, but today what one notices is that the probe has slowed down. This is mainly because they are unable to track down the prime suspect and the mastermind behind this outfit- Naved Ahmed. This man who heads the outfit has gone missing for the past couple of months. The strategy adopted by him was very clear and that was to commit crimes and fund the organisation.

According to the investigation, Ahmed is a habitual offender and specialises at robbery and kidnapping. The money that has been obtained by this is funded into the organisation, investigations have shown. The police say that Ahmed will be a prized catch in order to curb the growth of this organisation. In addition to this he has three more accomplices who are on the run and they are trying to nab these persons too.

The police say that they are doing everything it takes to nab him and even issued a red corner alert with the help of the Interpol in order to secure his arrest.

While this is one part of this organisation, the bigger concern is that the number of members is growing very fast thanks to the ideology that this organisation is spreading. The formation is very much on the lines of the Indian Mujahideen or the SIMI after the ban. While the IM and the SIMI targeted the educated youth, the KFD on the other hand has members from a very low rung of the society. The IB says that the youth are being lured into this outfit even today and it appears to be the same ideology that both SIMI and the IM have used. Community, religion and of course the atrocities that have been meted out are the primary tricks that are used to lure the youth in.

The police say that an outfit such as the KFD should not be viewed only as a Karnataka problem, but over the days it is growing to become a menace for Southern India. The police are studying the links the outfit has with some political groups in Kerala. They say that the links are being established as of now, but they do find a very close affiliation to the politics in Kerala. There are traces of this organisation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as well. In Karnataka the police have found this organisation to be strongest in Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore. What the police are looking into is whether the members of this outfit have had links with ISI agents in the South since there are instances to show that there has been a money trail through hawala operators.

What the investigation has also shown is that the primary agenda of the outfit is to grow politically. The idea is to get into the political main stream and hence they are increasing their man power in this regard. Both the police and the IB says that the growth is worrying and in a bid to achieve their goals, some of the members are capable of relying on the support of any outfit. This is a major cause for concern looking at the reliance they have on Kerala, which is a hub for the ISI. We want to ensure that this outfit does not grow anymore and the rate at which they continue with their activity is causing a nightmare for the police.

The ideology adopted by this outfit shows very clearly that they are hitting on emotive points to further their cause. It may not be as polished as the SIMI or the IM, but a crime is a crime a police official said.

Today according to investigators, KFD shows traces of affiliations with some terror groups in India. It is a typical case of what happened with the SIMI and how the ISI used it to become a primary striking force in India. The same is happening to the KFD and before they make inroads politically, we need to shut it down. The task ahead is tough since the outfit is very organised at the moment. They have dedicated district and city offices with a president, organising secretary and treasurers. The police say it is one of the fastest growing outfits in South India with nearly 40000 members today.

A silent war!

Barring a terror attack on July 13, 2011 things have been relatively peaceful in India. Indian agencies are busy figuring out this menace which is now being caused by fringe groups. However the big question is what are the bigger groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba doing during this period of lull and calm.

The biggest weapon which these groups have is their patience and Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that while they are not carrying out terror attacks there is a lot of activity that such groups carry out. The war is always on, but it is different in nature. There is no doubt that they are planning larger attacks on the Indian soil, but in the meantime what they continue to do is circulate fake currency, smuggle arms and ammunition carry out recruitments and build up terror modules across the country.

Fake currency- The year 2010 alone has seen fake currency worth Rs 3200 crore in circulation while over all since the past ten years the amount is a stunning  Rs 12,00,000 crore. The notes continue to be under circulation and the Home Ministry says that every 5th note out every 1000 is fake today. The Lashkar which is the biggest beneficiary of this racket pumps in these notes through the Dawood Ibrahim network and it has now been established that the notes of very fine quality are being printed in Pakistan.

What has been worrying the Indian agencies is that the number of routes to smuggle in fake currency have increased and also the printing units in Pakistan too have gone up. Earlier the government owned printing press in Karachi was being used to print fake currency, but today the establishment feels that there is a need to increase the supply and hence have instructed their other state owned press at Quetta to do the same. This only means that the number of notes which will be in circulation especially in India will double and Indian agencies have a tough task ahead.

The earlier routes that were being used to pump in fake currency into India were through Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. However now the reliance on countries such as Thailand and also Dubai have increased. In the future one would get to see this racket emerging more from these two countries since the heat on the operatives are lower compared to the ones operating from Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Moreover within India too there have been changes and fake currency that is pumped in through Dubai has been landing in Thiruvananthapuram and then circulated into other parts of the country. Hyderabad always continues to be a hub for such a racket, Indian agencies point out.

India claims that it is doing its bit to counter this menace in every possible way it can. The issues such as the sourcing of paper to print the notes from London continues to be a contentious issue. The Pakistani agencies have adopted the same route to source their papers which has made the entire exercise very difficult for Indian agencies. India will raise this issue with the Financial Action Task Force in the month of October since it has decided that it would need the help of the international community to fight this menace.

Arms and ammunition- While studying this aspect of terror it becomes extremely crucial to understand why the closure of the D Gang is very important to India. While there continues to be infiltration into India through the borders of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal the whole other problem that comes along with it is the smuggling of arms and ammunition. While these are the normal transit points, there is a chunk of this coming in from Thailand as well which has led agencies to believe that recruits of the D Gang have been aiding this menace. While these arms that have been smuggled in are not being used for terror activities, they continue to be in circulation in the market and are being supplied to gangs and the money being raised out of this is used to fund terrorism on a 70:30 basis.

Recruitments- This is one of the most important aspects for any terror organisation. With the Indian Mujahideen down in the dumps and their modules in re-grouping mode, Pakistan based outfits have had to rely largely on their independent networks to carry out a recruitment process. The Lashkar in particular has been looking more into their Kerala connections through the Gulf and are carrying out recruitments. There has also been an increase in activity in Hyderabad and the ongoing problems in the area have only helped these groups go about their job without being noticed. The entire focus of the police is on the agitation and this has given terror groups a safe path to go about their recruitment. When looking at this issue on a national level, the IB says that most of the activity has been down south when compared to the North which has slowed down in the area of recruitment. However these recruits would focus more on carrying on the fake currency trade and also bringing in more youth into the outfit. There have been no instances in the past couple of months to show that recruits have been sent outside the country to train. They are taking it slow deliberately to avoid the heat and they would try and ensure that nothing is done on a large scale.

Terror modules- Realistically speaking the lashkar alone has around 500 modules across the country. While the big bosses are headquartered at Pakistan, the Gulf modules have been put in charge of setting up terror modules in the country. The IB explains that the money is pumped in from the Gulf which lands up either in Andhra Pradesh or Kerala. This in turn is passed on to the recruits in these areas who carry it around the country and help set up modules. Most of the modules which are operated are not as active as they may have been a couple of years back. The IB says that this lack of activity cannot be misunderstood as them being down. These persons apart from increasing the number of modules continue to aide the circulation of fake currency and also the arms trade.

The IM and its shadow outfits

When the serial blasts took place the National Investigating Agency was on a very important job. They were studying the modus operandi and the re-grouping of the dreaded Indian Mujahideen which is the focus of the investigation today.

Indian Intelligence Bureau officials had been issuing warnings that there is a lot of activity in the modules of the Indian Mujahideen. After the arrests there were a lot of fringe elements of this group who had spread out across the country. Most of them had been in touch with their senior members who have fanned out into countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

However more important is that this outfit had been using various names to stage a come back. The IB says that the Bullet 313 is one such outfit while the other is the Jamat Ansarul Muslimeen. This is just another wing of the IM according to the IB and has been carrying out activities mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and to a certain extent in Karnataka. This was styled very much on the lines of the Jammat-ud-Dawa/Lashkar-e-Tayiba combine, say officials. Investigators are now closely studying whether this front had any role to play in the recent serial blasts case. We are studying and investigating every possible angle to the case, an investigating officer said when asked about this new front of the IM.

What the IM was planning was to have a saner outfit covering for them so that the heat remained low. The IM basically never wanted the names of this group to come out in the limelight and wanted it to be a front to collect funds and also carry out recruitments on the sly.

However prior to these serial blasts, the NIA had gone deep into the network of the IM and it was at that time did the real picture of the JAM come to light. This front was active in the above mentioned states and activities were being carried out on a smaller scale. IM operatives realised that operating under the original name was deterring their activities and hence such a front had been launched. A major part of the IM did manage to regroup under this banner and to a large extent funds too were raised through this outfit.

The IM was looking for a major overhaul ever since its activities were curbed by the police forces across the country. The first thing they did in this direction was create a new name for their outfit and called it the Bullet 313 brigade. They then created JAM as a shadow organisation to throw the investigators off guard and to an extent it has worked out well for them if the police do manage to finally ascertain that the serial blasts was the handi work of the IM.

IB reports suggest that members of the JAM have been trying to active their network in other parts of the country and smaller modules for the IM had already been created in large parts of the country. A large part of this organisation includes old timers of the IM who have not been under the scrutiny of the police as yet. They have been throwing in newer members to carry forward their activities, an officer in the NIA said. However these men are under the direct control of the key IM operatives who are outside the country today and these include the likes of the Bhatkal brothers, Mohsin Chaudhary and Muddasir Yasin.

In the days to come there is bound to be a war between these terror groups and investigators since every time a case has been cracked a newer outfit emerges. This is a sort of a cat and mouse game says the IB who also add that the creation of the newer names are done with an intention of creating a diversion. However what has been ascertained that it would be the IM which would form the major threat to internal security and this would be the face of home grown Jihad. Newer outfits and names would emerge from the IM which would continue to be the feeder outfit for all new ventures in the future.

Security agencies also say that the very crucial IM operatives continue to be out of the radar and nabbing them becomes extremely crucial at the moment. Post these serial blasts the names that the police have put out are:

Iqbal Bhatkal, Riyaz Bhatkal,, Ahmed Yasin, Mudassir Yasin alias Saif , Mujeeb, Alamzeb Afridi, Manzar Imamuddin Khan, Azhar, Yusuf, Sabir, Mohammad Shabir, Shafiq, Hussain Farhan, Samir Salim Khan, Wasim, Ariz Khan alias Junaid, Mirza Shahdab Baig, Sajid Bada, Shahnawaz Alam, Asadullah Akhtar, Abdus Subhan, Farhan and Mohsin Chaudhary. All these men have been abscoding since the heat on the IM had been turned on by the police across the country.

13/7-Probe agencies knock the BSF door

Investigating agencies are now in touch with officers of the Border Security Force for more leads into the 13/7 serial blasts case. Several operatives who have been picked up along the border and later handed over to the police are first interrogated by the officials of the BSF.

Investigating agencies are looking particularly for more details on the interrogation of T Nasir, the mastermind of the Bangalore blasts. We are in touch with the BSF for the interrogation reports of Nasir and a few other cadres who were picked up by the them and first interrogated.

What investigators are looking for is specific details of the interrogation. They are trying to find out if the likes of Nasir during his questioning with the BSF had spoken about future plans. Nasir who hails from Kerala was picked up on the India-Bangladesh border and later handed over to the Bangalore police. The ATS is also in touch with its counterparts in Karnataka for more details on the Nasir probe. However Nasir during his interrogation with the Bangalore police had spoken only about the Bangalore blasts and it appeared that he had the intention of carrying out just this one operation. He does not speak of blasts in the future as per his interrogation report. Nasir’s interrogation also went on to reveal that his was a one off module emerging out of Kerala which wanted to carry out only the Bangalore blasts with the help of funds from the Gulf which was given to him by a sympathiser.

However the police say that they will need to look further into the Nasir case since he hails from Kerala, a state which is notorious for such activity. The investigators are also in touch with the Kerala police who are providing leads on the Gulf modules which are connected to the modules in that state.

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