Tuesday, 17 September 2013 | Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi
Startling revelations, that could hit the penetration of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the political class of India and Nepal, have been made by Indian Mujahideen (IM) mastermind Yasin Bhatkal.
The militant has revealed the presence of about 200 major Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) dealers along the Indo-Nepal border, including politicians from either side. The IM co-founder has disclosed that as many as ten undercover officials of ISI operate a flourishing FICN ‘business’ out of Kathmandu.
These undercover ISI operatives, comprising senior officials of Pakistan Army (colonel and major rank) are not part of the diplomatic staff and stay outside the Embassy or related premises. The ISI-run FICN nodes in Nepal are active in Birganj, Pokhara, Viratnagar and Gaur, the IM mastermind told the interrogators.
Bhatkal also told interrogators about the presence of two dozen IM operatives who have been trained y the ISI to carry out the jehadi agenda from Nepal to target India.
The ISI has also established links with Nepalese Maoists to further their ties with Naxals in India and intensify attacks here and bring newer areas under the ambit of ultra-Left extremism.
Bhatkal has also revealed that the ISI is exploring ways to supply weapons and explosives to Naxal groups through the Nepalese Maoists.Besides this, Pakistan’s notorious agency is said to be supporting the anti-talk faction of ULFA, with funds, weapons and training at a facility in Bangladesh.
While funding to Indian terror and insurgent groups is channeled through the hawala network, weapons are routed from Bangladesh via the North-East. In the recent past, Naxal activities have been reported from Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.
Bhatkal has already divulged ISI’s funding to certain groups to revive Sikh militancy. FICN is a widely prevalent mode of terror financing, a primary mechanism for destabilizing the country, economically as well as by undermining the faith of the common man in its ‘legal tender’, an Intelligence official said.
The networks in place for the movement of FICN as well as hawala are estimated to be highly evolved and are suspected to lend themselves as infrastructure for gunrunning, transportation of explosives, provision of hideouts and communication channels for terrorists. The revelations by Bhatkal have given security agencies major insights into the FICN circulation channels and linkages with terror financing, sources in the NIA and IB said.
The sources said movement of FICN is channeled through various indirect routes from several countries and by different modes of transport. Nepal has become a major hub of FICN movement with UAE and Malaysia being two other nations used by the ISI as third country bases for movement of FICN. Organised crime networks like the so called D-Company of Dawood Ibrahim is also a big player in the evolved FICN distribution chain.
“The extensive and well-structured network of Dawood, using proxies, has made monitoring and detection extremely difficult for the security agencies. The revelations by Bhatkal could reveal the layered structures of the illegal trade in fake currency, its quantum and penetration of D-Company in India’s neighbourhood, especially Nepal,” the sources added. The proceeds of FICN trade by Dawood are estimated to have made inroads into the economic framework of the country through diverse activities, such as the infotainment sector, sand-mining in coastal areas, extortion racket, and smuggling of narcotics and gambling in sports activities. Parts of the funds are also pumped into terrorist activities, officials added.