Kidnapping: Terror’s new funding source
October 10, 2008 12:02 IST
It is a known fact that fake currency is one of the main funding methods to carry out terror-related activities. While investigating agencies have begun to crack down heavily on the fake currency racket, terror operatives are now finding newer methods to fund terror operations.
Intelligence bureau officials warn that the next big to fund terror activities would be abductions and investigations have shown that ransom money was used in major terror operations such as the attack on the World Trade Centre and the Indian Parliament.
IB reports suggest that the abductions are often carried out by the underworld and a part of the ransom money is handed over to terror operatives, who use it to carry out subversive activities.
According to a report prepared by B Srinivasulu, Superintendent of Police, Intelligence, Hyderabad, kidnappers resort to new methods to achieve their goal. Abductions in India are often controlled from Dubai, that operate using satellite phones. These persons use local conduits in such operations.
Persons desperate to go to the Gulf are chosen as conduits and are lured into the racket with a promise of easy money. The job assigned to these conduits is to identify persons who could be abducted. Once identified, the local gangs are directed to undertake the operation.
Once the operation is complete, the call is then made through satellite phones from Dubai and the ransom money is transferred.
The IB says that a large part of this money is used in funding terror operations. In the year 2001, a businessman from Kolkata by the name Partho Burman was abducted and later released after ransom money of Rs 4 crore was paid.
The IB report says that the man who controlled the operation from Dubai was Aftab Ansari, a resident of Uttar Pradesh [Images] who owed allegiance to the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islam.
The agency adds that that there is proof of ransom money being used in terror operations.
An E-mail sent by Ansari to Asif Reza Khan, a SIMI [Images] leader stated, ‘Bhai maine ek lakh dollar Sheikh Omar ko de diya hai (I have paid $100,000 to Sheikh).’
The modus operandi is proving to be difficult to crack for investigating agencies.
Recently, a boy abducted in Hyderabad was kept in a farm house in the city and later shifted to Pune where another gang took possession of the boy. Ironically, the gang at Hyderabad, which carried out the operation, was unaware of the members of the Pune gang.
From Pune the boy was shifted to a remote village in UP and handed over to another local gang. Once again, the Pune gang had no idea about the gang in UP. The only person aware of all the three gangs would be the man sitting in Dubai and controlling operations, the IB says.
This in turn makes it very difficult to crack down on the case since these gangs are operating strictly on a need-to-know basis.
According to Srinivasalu’s report a specialised organized crime unit needs to be set up at the state level to handle such cases and this unit needs to coordinate with the rest of the states.
There needs to be a central nodal agency to coordinate the efforts of this team and it would be the job of this agency to collect information from all units, analyse it and then pass it on.
As the kidnappings/extortions are being perpetrated by the underworld from foreign soil, it is necessary to have a matured co-ordination with the Central Bureau of Investigation to handle such cases when the state units are unable to investigate effectively for unforeseen reasons viz., case spreading over different states, compilation of ownership details of satellite phones and also extradition of the accused.