India to conduct first trilateral naval exercise with Singapore, Thailand

IndianNavyNew Delhi, Sep 09: For the first time India will join hands with Thailand and Singapore to conduct a trilateral naval exercise between September 16 and 20. The exercise would be conducted in the Andaman Sea.

This is a major development and India is hoping that next year Malaysia and Indonesia would join in, thus making it a multilateral exercise. The exercise is aimed at ensuring a free shipping flow through the Malacca Straits.

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How India beat Pakistan in Thailand to secure Dawood’s aide Munna Jhingada

munnajhingadaNew Delhi, Aug 9: India scored a major diplomatic victory on Wednesday after a Thailand court ruled that Muzakkir Muddassar Hussain alias Munna Jhingada, a close aide of Chhota Shakeel and Dawood Ibrahim is an Indian citizen.

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Punjab militancy would be launched from Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar

mintooNew Delhi, Dec 2: The revival of the Khalistan Movement in Punjab has been spoken about several times thanks to the number of alerts and intercepts that the Intelligence Bureau has put out. Now there is more confirmation about how the ISI is doing everything it can to revive the movement in Punjab.

The confirmation comes from Harminder Singh Mintoo who had recently escaped from a jail in Punjab only to be caught a day later. He says that there are four key cells of the Khalistan Liberation Force through which militancy in Punjab would be revived.

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Thai national who supplied arms to NE militants from China to be extradited

nialogoNew Delhi, Nov 5: The war on terror in the North Eastern states received a shot in the arm with a court in Thailand turning out an appeal against the extradition of Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich alias Willy Naru the go in between man for the North Eastern militants and the Chinese gun suppliers.

The extradition of Willy Naru is a big deal for the NIA since he is a Thai national and securing the extradition of foreign nationals is never an easy job.

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R&AW turns heat on fake currency operators

RAW_logo1_fA courier containing fake currency landed in India a few months back. Tracking the origin of the courier it was found that the same had been sent from China. Investigations later revealed that fake currency was first sent out of Pakistan to a person in China who in turn decided to courier it to a contact in India.

This incident reveals that the Pakistan based racket has been innovating with each passing day and a detailed paper of the Research and Analysis Wing shows how deep rooted the problem is. In the past few months agents of the R&AW have launched a global operation and this has led to persons being arrested in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bangladesh.
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Bangkok bombing: Red Shirts under scanner

bangkok-bomb-squad_3410335bThe Thailand’s junta chief has said that they are hunting a male suspect who was seen on the CCTV footage at Bangkok which was hit by a major explosion last night.

The suspicion is moving towards an anti government group, Red Shirts which is based in Thailand’s Northeast, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said.

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The Iqbal Mirchi case

The arrest of Iqbal Mirchi has give Indian agencies plenty to smile about. The man who is said to be Dawood Ibrahims right man hand handling the drug syndicate spent the last decade in theEssextown controlling the business before he was finally arrested.

CBI sources who confirmed the arrest say that there has been a red corner alert against the man since the year 1994. The alert numbered A-529/11-1994 was issued a year after theBombayserial blasts after which he went missing. The Interpol alert issued through the Central Bureau of Investigation specifically speaks about his role in storing and manufacturing of narcotics.

Born on April 25 1950 he goes by the aliases Memon Iqbal Mohammad, Iqbal Mirchi and also Iqbal Merchant. Fluent with Arabic, Hindi and English, Mirchi got this surname since his family was into the red chilli business.

Although there is more being spoken about his role in the drug business compared to the 1993 serial blasts, he still would be the vital link to crack the D code according to the CBI. The drug syndicate which was under the control of Mirchi did not remain just that, but also became a full fledged route to acts of terror. The Intelligence Bureau says that the drug racket controlled by the D Gang is very directly linked to every act of terror. In fact it was the plan by the ISI to interlink both these networks and the story goes that this is exactly how they managed to get Dawood Ibrahim into their fold in the first place. ThePakistanand theAfghanistanroutes are very crucial to any drug trade and the these routes were very much under the control of the ISI. They were well aware that the D gang was using these routes extensively and the ISI struck a deal with this gang that they would make the job easier only if Dawood agreed to pump a large share of his drug income into terror activities.

Now that Iqbal Mirchi has been arrested,Indiawould seek his extradition since it is a known fact that he is important toIndiawhen compared to any other country. Although he operated inLondon, he was the point man for the international drug trade being run by the D Gang. This would mean that his links spread across not only toIndia, but toThailand,Nepaland alsoNigeria, all of which have been proven to be key Dawood hubs.

Mirchi was once arrested by the Scotland Yard police in the year 1995 on charges of drug peddling and also the 1993 blasts.Indiahad a very surprising response at that point in time and despite their request for extradition being turned down, they never went in appeal and even paid Mirchi costs. However in the Indian records he is still an offender and all the cases pertaining to drugs and terrorism remain intact against him. Sources say that the scenario today is very different when compared to 1995 and today there is much more material against him when compared to 16 years back.

TodayIndianot only has its own case, but also has the support of theUnited States of Americawhich has termed him as an offender dealing in the drug racket. Hence this time around the CBI hopes that the extradition process would be much simpler and they are confident of getting his custody.

If at all Mirchi is extradited then the Indian agencies could consider it to be a major breakthrough. His role in the drug racket would be of interest to bothIndiaand theUS, but the more important thing is that both these countries have ample information that this racket is directly connected to everything related to terrorism. The drug routes between Pakistan Afghanistan,Nepal,IndiaandThailandhave been used for terror activities. Not only are these routes used to smuggle arms and ammunition, but are also used to pump in the fake currency which has become terror’s primary funder. Moreover the money that has been raised through the drug racket also directly funds terror activities.

Although Indian agencies were aware of Mirchi’s whereabouts all through no serious attempt was ever made to extradite him. He was inDubaifor very long after the 1993 serial blasts and at that time he was declared as a proclaimed offender. However he sensed that he could be extradited and hence moved to theUnited Kingdom. He has managed to handle the drug trade with ease in the international circuit and according to the Indian agencies he continues to be the most senior man in the D drug syndicate. It would be interesting to see howIndiawould move about his extradition. IB sources say that they have a stronger case against him and the extradition this time around will not be so much of a problem. There would be much reliance on the order of theUSgovernment too against Mirchi whichIndiahopes will makes the extradition an easier process. He needs to be looked as an international offender and his interrogation would help in cracking several cases relating to terror inIndiaand also the rest of the world.

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.