August 29, 2007

HYDERABAD :Fake currency and blasts linked?
Vinay Kumar

Dawood network’s role suspected

Hyderabad, Bangalore likely terror targets

NEW DELHI: Hours before the recent twin blasts in Hyderabad , a racket of pumping fake currency into the city was busted by the police, with the seizure of Rs. 3 crore and arrest of four persons. Intelligence and security personnel are trying to ascertain if there is a link between the seizure and the Saturday blasts.

Sources believe that the fake currency which was of a “very high quality” had its origins in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and reached India via the United Arab Emirates through the channel of sea cargo. The modus operandi is to exchange as much of it for genuine Indian currency and despatch it to Pakistan and UAE through hawala channels which are also said to be active in Kerala.

Security and intelligence agencies suspect the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim’s network in organising counterfeit Indian currency and routing it to Hyderabad and North Indian cities through their “carriers.” A recent haul of fake currency from Delhi’s Nizamuddin Railway Station indicated the existence of such a module in Western U.P. and parts of Rajasthan.

The possibility of a terror strike in South India, particularly IT hubs such as Bangalore and Hyderabad, was also discussed during a recent meeting of State Home Secretaries which was headed by Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta. Tightening of intelligence set-up and the need for better coordination was taken up but in the absence of a specific, actionable intelligence input it was impossible to pinpoint the possible venue of the terror strike.

Technological tools

As the era of human intelligence and elaborate field work for gathering vital information and intelligence inputs gives way to the new technological tools available to underworld operatives and terrorist modules, intelligence agencies have to heavily rely upon either telephonic interceptions or internet chatter. But, sources say, terrorists are increasingly using the method of having a common password, logging on to their shared e-mail account but to save the message as a draft and deleting the message after reading it. The internet chatter can be picked up but it may be late for action, sources say.

Another strand of information points to the illegal stay of nearly 11,000 Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals in Andhra Pradesh in the congested parts of old Hyderabad. Sources say that among them could be sympathisers of terrorist outfits and they could be involved in sleeper cells of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad after getting training.

Such activists are normally picked up on “need basis” and go into hibernation thereafter.

Yet another question is the choice of terror targets in Hyderabad and Bangalore, particularly Hyderabad where 40 per cent of the seven million people are Muslims and in the event of a terror strike the victims cut across religious affinities and communities.

Emerging IT centres in the two cities, ample job opportunities and increased economic activity are cited as reasons for striking terror in the busy public places so that casualties are on the higher side and panic-stricken people withdraw into a shell and activities come to a standstill.

“It is a psychological advantage too which the terror outfits target with a view to halt the economic progress of the country,” sources said.

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