Agencies inactive on tracking hawala channels

Agencies inactive on tracking hawala channels

By Kundan Jha | New Delhi | 16 April, 2017
Financial Investigation Unit, Jammu and Kashmir, local hawala, Parmjeet Singh, tracking hawala channels, illegal money trail
Hawala operators across the region have stopped sending physical money.

Agencies responsible for keeping a check on the illegal money trail from abroad to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) seem to be inactive as various terrorist groups operating in the state continue to receive funds through different hawala channels.

According to a senior official of the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU), the inflow remittance through the hawala network in India from Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain has gone up 10 times from last year’s estimated inflow of Rs 100 crore. The official confirmed that a major part of the terror financing for subversive activities in India comes through this route.

Rajesh (name changed), who runs a local hawala pick-up centre in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, said: “The money inflow from Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi has doubled in recent years and I receive almost 80 to 85 ‘pick ups’ for Jammu and Kashmir.”

Most of the hawala money trail has shifted from physical courier of money to trade-based transactions.  “In order to limit the risk of carrying money, hawala operators across the region have stopped sending physical money. If the distance is more than 100 km, we use intra-state or inter-state trade channel,” Rajesh said.

Shamim, another “hawaledar”, who operates from the capital, said: “We can send money to anyone sitting in any corner of the world. Nowadays, it takes little time to transfer money by hawala channels. For example, the moment our hawala counter in Kuwait or Dubai gets money, we receive a coded message and contact details of the beneficiary. We locate the nearest pick up ‘hawaledar’ and finally money goes into the hands of the beneficiary.”

“The bosses of hawala traders have opened hundreds of shell firms through which they generate false invoices of sale and purchase abroad. Later, these traders receive money from their counterparts from centres like Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. After a few deals, the hawala bosses close these companies and shift to other companies,” Shamim explained.

Funding in the Valley also comes in the form of charity. Zaheer, Shamim’s aide, said: “There are a large number of people and charitable organisations in Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain, who share the ideology of the terror groups and feel that it is their responsibility to support their people in areas like Kashmir by sending charity money.”

The massive inflow of funds into Kashmir is aided by Pakistan to fuel insurgency in the Valley, say intelligence officials.

Parmjeet Singh, a retired military official, who also worked for Military Intelligence (MI), told The Sunday Guardian: “What India needs to worry about are the ‘pick-up points’ in India that help in terror financing operations in Kashmir. for such activities.”

 

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