September 28, 2009 4:46:23 am
The Government has decided to designate the Home Ministry as the sole counter-terrorism authority and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has instructed the Revenue department to hand over the job of tracking terror funding to the Home department under P Chidambaram.
Top government sources told The Indian Express that the Revenue department under the Finance Ministry communicated last Wednesday that it was handing over to the Home department the monitoring,checking and prevention of terror funds reaching India. It said this decision had the concurrence of Mukherjee.
Until now,the task of uncovering and destroying terror modules in the country was with the Intelligence Bureaus Operations wing while tracking terror funding through hawala and other illegal money transfers was handled by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,Customs,Income Tax,Central Economic Intelligence Wing and Enforcement Directorate. The new move ensures that Revenue authorities will limit themselves to monitoring and prevention of economic offences. What this also means is that the Home Ministry could see some restructuring not only will the Operations wing be strengthened but a separate wing to handle cases of terror funding may be created within the existing establishment. With most cases of terror funding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan arc emanating from the multi-billion dollar trafficking in narcotics,there are plans to give the Narcotics Control Bureau more teeth so that financial channels to terrorists in India get choked.
One of the plans of the Home Ministry is to approach international credit and debit card companies for access to details of large-scale money transfers to India.
It has come to the notice of counter-terror sleuths that in Jammu and Kashmir,terrorists have often used international debit cards,issued abroad in other names and then sent to India via courier,to access funds from ATMs.
Other aspect is the emerging close link between drug dealers,terrorists and money launderers in the sub-continent. Some of the biggest names in the crime world,including the D-company,are laundering drug money through bourses in the Middle-East and transferring it to buy weapons and explosives for terrorists.
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