Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Terror Funding Template Of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Of India

National investigation agency (NIA) of India is the exclusive central agency that deals with terrorism related cases in India. It has been created under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. It intends to strengthen Indian capabilities to fight terrorism in India.

Terrorist activities heavily depend upon financial resources. Since legal channels of transfer of money are closely guarded, terrorists use illegal means and channels to transfer money. Even fake currency is used by them to support their nefarious activities.

Recently, in case numbered RC/07/2011/NIA/DLI DLI, NIA filed a criminal case under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 against four accused persons. NIA claimed it is a case of circulation of high quality fake Indian currency notes (FICN) by some members of the banned terrorist organisation. Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), in association with the co-accused in the case, based at Malda (W.B.), located near Indo-Bangladesh border pursuant to a criminal conspiracy to fund terrorist activities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Investigation will be conducted further to locate the source of FICN.

Now NIA has prepared a Terror Funding Template (TFT), which will help its officials and investigators of states' anti-terror agencies to extract information on terror funding. The Template describes core sources and methods for terror funding and it can be utilised for getting relevant information from terrorists and terror suspects during their interrogation and probe. It can also be used to keep an eye on various other activities that directly or indirectly contribute to funding terrorist organisations in India and elsewhere.

Besides usual source of terror funding through hawala, narcotics trade and printing\circulation of fake Indian currency notes, the Template has taken into account misuse of zakat - giving alms to poor and needy as prescribed by the Quran - to fund terror activities. It has been “indianised” to cover issues and areas relevant for India.

These efforts have been further strengthened by the banking reforms in India. For instance, an integrated modern banking law of India has been recently suggested that can be really helpful in this case. Similarly, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prescribed enhanced due diligence measures by banks of India for higher risks customers that include terrorist outfits and organisations.

However, there are some very crucial issues that are posing constitutional problems for the intelligence and security agencies of India. For instance, intelligence gathering in India is unconstitutional. Similarly, counter terrorism capabilities of India are not sufficient and Indian counter terrorism capabilities needs rejuvenation. Finally, parliamentary oversight and constitutional safeguards are missing in the functions of these agencies. Time has come to approach these issues in a holistic manner.