The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) has recommended a protocol be arrived at between concerned Union and state departments for the placement of officers with expertise in financial investigations to uncover financing of terrorist acts.
Information and intelligence on terrorist financing are presently generated by different intelligence and investigation agencies which are engaged in general or specific fields of activities.
Financing of terrorism is conventionally done through hawala transactions, currency smuggling, counterfeiting, drug-trafficking and narcotics trade, investments and trading in capital and commodities markets (including foreign investments), transactions in real estate and the like.
The ARC is of the view that owing to the scope for their abuse, the investigative agencies with authority to probe such activities need to devote more resources and manpower to identify suspected terrorist financing activities, so that information could be passed on to intelligence agencies empowered to investigate terrorism cases.
The ARC in its Eighth Report has said: “For concerted action on the financial leads provided by information gathered by various sources, a specialised cell may be created in the proposed National Counter-terrorism Centre drawing upon expertise from the Union Ministries of Finance and Home Affairs and the Cabinet Secretariat. Further, different investigation agencies dealing with financial transactions may set-up anti-terrorist finance cells within their organisations to augment the efforts of intelligence agencies involved in counter-terrorism activities and facilitate coordination among agencies.”
The ARC has noted that while financing terrorists through “conventional” methods continues, methods such as online payments, trade-based money laundering, abuse of charities, false claims etc. have assumed centre-stage in recent years. As probe into such transactions requires specialised investigation techniques and skills, the ARC has prescribed multi-faceted teams in the agencies charged with conducting investigations under anti-terrorist law.
The report said: “However, apart from the present system of deputations to such agencies, it would be useful to commission dedicated teams within these investigating agencies to investigate financial aspects of specific cases/group of cases by inducting officers having specialisation in different aspects of financial investigation for short periods. The objective would be speedy and focused completion of the financial aspect of the investigation in such cases within, say three to six months.”
The report added: “The placement of officers belonging to different agencies/organisations for such short periods and for specific cases would thus require arriving at an understanding between the jurisdictional ministries of the Union and state governments and the organisations from which such officers would be sourced. A protocol for achieving this may be arrived at to facilitate such capacity building, thereby strengthening... counter-terrorist measures.”