Govt may crack down on foreign exchange bureaux

Updated on May 13, 2007 03:54 PM IST
Government was now planning to carry out a crack down and streamline the money arriving in the country from overseas.
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None | BySumir Kaul, New Delhi

Amid intelligence inputs that militant groups were getting money in small amount through at part-time foreign exchange bureaux, Government was now planning to carry out a crack down and streamline the money arriving in the country from overseas.

The move comes close on the heels of objections raised by the security agencies over the mushrooming of foreign exchange bureaux at every nook and corner, to which Reserve Bank of India officials expressed their ignorance.

At a recent meeting between security agencies, the finance ministry and officials of the Reserve Bank of India, law enforcement and security agencies raised serious concerns at the mushrooming of money transfer agencies, especially an international money transfer company which has its agents in almost every street, official sources said.

RBI officials informed the meeting that permission had been given to the company to have agents and sub-agents like banks, post offices and important financial institutions.

However, they were unable to give an explanation when questions were raised about the appointment of "sub-sub agents" like grocery shop-owners and travel agents. The security agencies expressed fears that such outlets were being used by militants for money transfers involving small amounts, the sources said.

This prompted the RBI to issue guidelines to every bank seeking an up-to-date list of all offices and branches, which were authorised to transact foreign exchange business and details of any change in categorisation of its branches dealing in foreign exchange.

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