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e-Wallets Keep Security Agencies on Toes as Coimbatore Blast Probe, PFI Ban Blow Lid Off Terror Financing Tool

By: Ankur Sharma

Edited By: Apoorva Misra

News18.com

Last Updated: December 05, 2022, 10:43 IST

New Delhi, India

In Jammu and Kashmir, local agencies probing terror cases have found that sympathisers were raising funds to fuel terror in the UT through e-wallets. (Image for Representation/Freepik)

In Jammu and Kashmir, local agencies probing terror cases have found that sympathisers were raising funds to fuel terror in the UT through e-wallets. (Image for Representation/Freepik)

An NIA probe has revealed that funds are collected in small amounts during different intervals just like a normal money transfer to escape suspicion

E-wallets have emerged as the latest tool for terror financing in India, with intelligence and investigative agencies establishing links to several cases in the past few months.

Sources said in various terror cases, agencies have found that the accused received money through several wallets in small amounts.

In one such case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) found that an accused identified as Mohsin Ahmad, who was arrested, collected funds from sympathisers in India and overseas via e-wallets.

A student of Jamia Millia Islamia University, the accused received money from several sources, including some big companies. Investigators are now trying to trace the persons who were using these accounts.

Probe revealed that the funds were collected in small amounts during different intervals just like a normal money transfer.

Similarly, in the Coimbatore blast case, local police had also found that the accused collected some amount using e-wallets, which he then used to buy items to fabricate IEDs.

A similar pattern has been observed in other cases of terror financing. After banning the Popular Front of India (PFI), it was found that the organisation’s members were raising funds from various sources through e-wallets and transferring them to a few accounts.

In Jammu and Kashmir too, local agencies probing terror cases have found that sympathisers were raising funds to fuel terror in the UT through e-wallets.

“There have been many cases where accused used e-wallet to collect money. There were multiple transfers. When we contacted the company, they said that all rules were followed and thus they cannot ask for the source of the money. In almost all cases, the wallets were linked to bank accounts and transfers were done through them. The accused collected money for months to make it a sizeable amount. They thought it will help fool the agency,” a senior official probing such cases told News18.

The official also explained the reason behind using e-wallets for terror financing. “These wallets are easy to use, which makes them the primary choice. Anyone can transfer money through e-wallets and buy cryptocurrency. Also, it is not very easy to trace as transactions are of small amount. Cadre use these wallets to raise funds and send them to a few accounts where it gets converted into the type of currency the top module leadership wants. In case of cash, it would be tough to send money abroad or get money from there,” the official added.

There are reports which suggest that terror outfits like al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and Al-Qassam among others are operating through cryptocurrencies.

When Amit Shah raised the issue

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his concluding remarks at the closing session of the 3rd ‘No Money For Terror’ Conference (Counter-Terrorism Financing) had raise the issue of technologies aiding terror.

In his address, Shah said during the two-day conference, the delegates discussed emerging trends in terror financing, misuse of emerging financial technologies, and international cooperation in the field of terror financing to effectively achieve the objective of ‘No Money for Terror’.

Shah said considering the quantum and challenges, the agencies and authorities working in the areas of counter-terror and terror financing have to adopt a long-term strategy. The minister added that issues that must be dealt with on priority include “preventing diversion from legal financial instruments by fighting anonymity in financial networks, restricting the use of proceeds of other crimes for terrorist activities, preventing use of new financial technologies, virtual assets like cryptocurrencies, wallets etc., for terror activities”.

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first published:December 05, 2022, 10:20 IST
last updated:December 05, 2022, 10:43 IST
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