Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shinde seeks greater international cooperation in tackling terror funding

NEW DELHI, November 7, 2012

Expressing concern over terrorists taking the stock market route for raising funds for their operations, India on Tuesday sought international cooperation among Interpol members in dealing with the issue.

"It is a cliché to say that terror-funding is the lifeblood of terrorism. Credible intelligence suggests that terrorist outfits are investing in stock markets through spurious companies, setting up fictitious businesses and laundering money," Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, while addressing the Interpol General Assembly in Rome.

Urging Interpol to play a "crucial role" in tackling the menace, Mr. Shinde said: "The utmost importance of detecting the sources of such finance, including the fake currency variant, its conduits, modus operandi and staunching its flow cannot be lost on us." Mr. Shinde's statement follows the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI) investigation against 35 stockbrokers for possible lapses in controls related to money-laundering and terror-financing.

Raising the issue of the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, in which an Interpol Red Notice has been issued against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and others, Mr. Shinde said: "I am constrained to point out that in spite of regular dialogue and credible evidence, the masterminds of one of the most heinous [acts] of terror of the last century — i.e., the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts in which 257 people died and 713 were injured — are still sitting in safe havens and are yet to be brought to book. Their presence in a neighbouring country is well known and Red Notices against them, who are Indian nationals, are pending since 1993."

The Minister also sought better cooperation among the investigating agencies of various countries in tackling terrorism. "Most major terror attacks, successful or aborted, from the stage of conceptualisation to execution, have their footprints in different countries. The investigative agencies get confronted with issues of jurisdiction, both international and inter-nation when they try to collect relevant evidence and connect the dots. The investigations do not reach their logical conclusions or get inordinately delayed due to fuzziness involved in the protocols to be followed in soliciting cooperation," Mr. Shinde said.

Mr. Shinde asked Interpol to study the feasibility of having some mechanism for getting informal investigation-related requests such as those for subscriber details, IP addresses, which are executed expeditiously through the companies that hold such information and asked Interpol to facilitate investigation and prosecution of terror-related cases.

The Minister suggested that Interpol collect and make available for the benefit of its member-states an online compendium of rules to be followed in various nation states for assistance in arrest, search, seizure, extradition, deportation, surveillance, collection of material evidence, examination and recording of evidence of witnesses, examination of suspects and the various agencies and departments involved in the process. "This will go a long way [in bringing] the perpetrators and planners of the most heinous crimes to justice," Mr. Shinde said.
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