Hawala money in India linked to terror funding: US

2 03 2009

Source: Dailytimes

* State Dept report recommends New Delhi prioritise cooperation with international initiatives for increased transparency

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: ‘Hawala’ money in India is directly linked to terrorist financing, the US has warned, suggesting New Delhi should strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism-finance legislations.

Citing a US State Department report, the Times of India reported that Washington had also recommended New Delhi work towards becoming a full-fledged member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that develops policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Noting the Indian parliament’s move to pass the Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, the report suggest India should make necessary legislative amendments to bring its anti-money laundering finance regime in conformity to FATF.

Prioritise: “Given the number of terrorist attacks in India and the fact that in India hawala is directly linked to terrorist financing, India should prioritise cooperation with international initiatives that provide increased transparency in alternative remittance systems,” said the report.

Released by Assistant US Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs David Johnson, the report quotes Reserve Bank of India estimates that remittances to India sent through legal, formal channels in 2007-2008 amounted to $42.6 billion. It cites Indian observers as saying funds transferred through hawala are equal to between 30 to 40 percent of the formal market.

The report noted that India’s strict foreign-exchange laws and transaction reporting requirements, combined with the banking industry’s due diligence policy, makes it difficult for criminals to use formal channels to launder money. However, large portions of illegal proceeds are often laundered through ‘hawala’, ‘hundi’, or other informal money transfer systems.

Listing out the steps New Delhi still needs to take, the report said India should become a party to the UN Conventions against Transnational Organised Crime and Corruption. “Also, India should pass the Foreign Contribution Regulation Bill for regulating non-governmental organisations, including charities,” it said. “India should devote more law enforcement and customs resources to curb abuses in the diamond trade. It should also consider the establishment of a Trade Transparency Unit that promotes trade transparency; in India, trade is the back door to underground financial systems,” the report said.

The hawala system can provide the same remittance service as a bank with little or no documentation, at lower rates and with faster delivery, while providing anonymity and security for its customers, the report said. It claimed that while most money laundering in India was aimed towards facilitating widespread tax avoidance, criminal activity contributes substantially

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Terror funds came from Gulf, routed through banks, hawala and money transfer channels

11 10 2008

Express News Service Posted: Oct 09, 2008 at 0220 hrs IST

Mumbai, October 8 Cops freeze bank accounts from which IM members withdrew money

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Wednesday revealed that it has frozen a certain number of bank accounts in the city from which money was withdrawn by some of the alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) members. According to the police, the IM operatives had been receiving money from Gulf countries through these accounts for the past two years. This is apart from what they had been receiving through the hawala network and the Western Union Money Transfer.

“During interrogations, some of the arrested accused told us that they used to withdraw money from some bank accounts in the city, following which we have frozen the accounts. They are savings accounts in nationalised banks and are in the names of some individuals. Since 2006, money was being deposited by people in Gulf countries and was being withdrawn in small amounts by the IM members. A total of Rs 26 lakh was sent from Gulf countries through proper banking channels to these accounts,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria, refusing to divulge further details or the number of accounts frozen.

The Crime Branch has already seized Rs 11.36 lakh in cash from the IM members arrested from Mangalore.

A dedicated team of Crime Branch officers is focussing on the funding received by the IM members, and are investigating the manner in which money was sent to them via hawala and money transfer channels. “If it is found that the people who are holding these accounts were actively helping the IM operatives in receiving funds from outside the country, they will also be booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for aiding and abbetting,” said Maria.





Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

25 09 2008

Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

Staff Reporter
Source: The hindu

Suspected in 7/11 Mumbai blasts case; explosives, weapons seized from them; they allegedly broke away from SIMI

Hunt on for more suspects


Mumbai: The Mumbai police have arrested five suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen. While Afzal Mutalib Usmani (32) was arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Mohammed Saddik Shaikh (31), Mohammed Arif Shaikh (38), Mohammed Zakir Shaikh (28) and Mohammed Ansar Shaikh were apprehended from their Mumbai residences on Tuesday night.

All the accused, originally from Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, have worked with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Joint Commissioner (Crime), Rakesh Maria told journalists.

“They broke away from SIMI to form the radical group of Indian Mujahideen. Saddik, was one of the co-founders of the outfit along with Atiq, killed in the Delhi encounter, and Roshan Khan, who is yet to be traced. The police are on the lookout for Khan.”

The police have booked the arrested persons under the Explosives Act, Arms Act, various sections of the Indian Penal Code and for criminal conspiracy. They have taken custody of them till October 7.

The police have also recovered explosives and ammunition from them. They have retrieved 10 kg. of gelatin or ammonium nitrate, 15 detonators, eight kg. of ball bearings, four fully active electronic circuits, one sub-machine carbine, two .38 revolvers and 30 cartridges of 9 mm carbine and eight cartridges of .38 revolver.

The source of the explosives and weapons is yet to be ascertained. However, the police presume it could be Karnataka, said Mr. Gafoor.

Hawala funds

While the source of finance is also to be investigated, Mr. Gafoor said the “money was coming through the hawala route.”

Mr. Maria described the role of the terrorists in the multiple blasts in the country since 2005, including the recent attacks in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi. He said the Indian Mujahideen was also involved in the planting of an unexploded bomb at Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the blast at the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, the blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, the Gorakhpur blasts in Lucknow and the 7/11 Mumbai blasts.

According to Mr. Maria, Afzal was responsible for the theft of the four motor vehicles from Navi Mumbai, which were used in the Ahmedabad blasts. He was also responsible for placing the explosive-laden vehicles at an Ahmedabad hospital and market place. Afzal was involved in a 1996 Shivaji Nagar (Mumbai) case of murder. He has nine cases against him including one under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime ACT (MCOCA).

Saddik came from Uttar Pradesh to settle in Cheetah Camp, Trombay, near Mumbai. He was working as a programme engineer in an electronic company in Mumbai. He was trained in a “hostile country” on two occasions for nine months and 45 days respectively. It was suspected that he was very high in the Indian Mujahideen hierarchy, Mr. Maria said.

Arif, an electrician by profession, was also trained outside in fabrication of bombs. “In particular, he is an expert in preparing an electronic circuit for bombs and is responsible for preparing the same in practically all the bomb blasts engineered by the Indian Mujahideen. In the initial stages, he was assembling bombs in Azamgarh and later he started doing it in Mumbai,” he said.

Zakir worked as a scrap dealer in Surat. Also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004, he was involved in the recent terror acts in Surat.

Ansar, resident of Cheetah Camp, was a close associate of Saddik. He was also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004.

Mr. Maria said the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) played a joint role in providing training to these five men.

Roshan Khan hails from Karnataka. His activities covered Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat.

Mr. Maria said Saddik was close to the alleged Delhi blast mastermind Atif. He was older than Atif and was his “controller.” Indian Mujahideen members were also under Saddik’s control.

He would plan where to send members for training and how many were to be sent. While Saddik would draw up plans, Atif would execute them.

“There is another person who is controlling them. His name is Amir Razzaq. His brother Asif Razzaq belonged to Kolkata’s Aftab Ansari group,” Mr. Maria said. He said Amir could be in Pakistan.

The arrested would converge at SIMI meetings. Another binding factor was their same place of origin, Azamgarh. Three of the five lived at Sanjarpur village in the district.

Mr. Maria said that to make identification difficult, the four persons settled in Mumbai told the 7/11 blast accused, with whom they worked, that they were Pakistanis. The Mumbai blast charge sheet mentions Pakistanis.

“All the 7/11 accused are in jail. The suspects thought to be Pakistanis are these people,” Mr. Gafoor said.

Responding to questions on the absconding suspect Abdus Subhan Qureishi alias Tauqeer, who is believed to have sent terror e-mails before the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts, Mr. Maria said that with the arrests made on Tuesday the e-mail case would be solved soon. He suspected that Tauqeer could be in touch with Roshan Khan.

‘Cannot be complacent’

“We have made a serious dent in terrorist activity, but we cannot be complacent. The hunt for more suspects is on, but the police cannot share operational details,” Mr. Gafoor said.

He said Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has announced a reward of Rs. 5 lakh for the Crime Branch team.





How fake currency and terror are related

13 08 2008

Source: Rediff
August 13, 2008 15:01 IST

Intelligence Bureau and investigating agencies have established that fake currency funds terror in India. IB officials say there is a whopping Rs 17,000 crore worth of fake currency in circulation in India. While it funds terror organisations, it also helps intensify economic terrorism in the country.

Sameer, one of the accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts, said in his confession and recent narco analysis conducted in Bengaluru [Images] that the notes are printed in Pakistan and routed into India through Bangladesh. He said that it is distributed to the rest of the country from Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Sameer said he was mainly responsible for bringing in people from the across the border to carry out terror attacks in India. Along with the men, large consignments of fake currency too were transported, he added.

What has foxed investigating agencies is that the serial numbers on the seized fake notes were similar those on genuine notes. Moreover the paper and printing quality of the notes have improved in the past few years making it very difficult to spot the fakes.

Majid Bilal, brother of alleged Hyderabad blasts mastermind Shahid Bilal, said during his narco analysis test that it is was compulsory for the men coming in from across the border to carry fake currency with them. He said that the notes were exchanged with agents within India (mostly in Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh) at a 2:1 ratio. He also said that Rs 5 crore had been spent on the Hyderabad twin blasts and added that all the money came from distribution of fake currency.

An investigating officer probing the Bengaluru blasts says that they are not ruling out the possibility of fake currency being used to fund the blasts. There have been several instances of fake currency being seized in the city. Statistics indicate nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in fake currency is seized every month by the police and handed over to the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], so that the notes can be destroyed.





How fake currency and terror are related

13 08 2008

Source: Rediff
August 13, 2008 15:01 IST

Intelligence Bureau and investigating agencies have established that fake currency funds terror in India. IB officials say there is a whopping Rs 17,000 crore worth of fake currency in circulation in India. While it funds terror organisations, it also helps intensify economic terrorism in the country.

Sameer, one of the accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts, said in his confession and recent narco analysis conducted in Bengaluru [Images] that the notes are printed in Pakistan and routed into India through Bangladesh. He said that it is distributed to the rest of the country from Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Sameer said he was mainly responsible for bringing in people from the across the border to carry out terror attacks in India. Along with the men, large consignments of fake currency too were transported, he added.

What has foxed investigating agencies is that the serial numbers on the seized fake notes were similar those on genuine notes. Moreover the paper and printing quality of the notes have improved in the past few years making it very difficult to spot the fakes.

Majid Bilal, brother of alleged Hyderabad blasts mastermind Shahid Bilal, said during his narco analysis test that it is was compulsory for the men coming in from across the border to carry fake currency with them. He said that the notes were exchanged with agents within India (mostly in Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh) at a 2:1 ratio. He also said that Rs 5 crore had been spent on the Hyderabad twin blasts and added that all the money came from distribution of fake currency.

An investigating officer probing the Bengaluru blasts says that they are not ruling out the possibility of fake currency being used to fund the blasts. There have been several instances of fake currency being seized in the city. Statistics indicate nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in fake currency is seized every month by the police and handed over to the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], so that the notes can be destroyed.