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Govt puts NGOs under scanner for terror financing

By Vicky Nanjappa
December 19, 2011 13:03 IST
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Non Governmental Organisations will have to watch their transactions in the coming days as the government has proposed to put them under the scanner owing to a huge security risk.

The government believes that some NGOs in the country have been aiding terror groups with funds and hence it is important that a watch be kept over these organisations. Senior government officials pointed out that the task ahead is tough.

"We believe that a large number of NGOs in the country have been sympathetic towards the cause of terrorists, and also the naxals and are indirectly raising funds for them," said an official.

Intelligence agencies would be looking into states such as Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal where it has been found that terror groups and Naxals are using NGOs as a mean to raise funds for their operations.

Kerala, where the inflow of money from foreign countries is high, tops the list.

"A lot of this money is being pumped into NGOs, with the transactions made to legitimate. However, the money is diverted to terror groups, who utilise it for subversive activities," a police official pointed out.

The recommendation made by the Financial Task Action Force pointed out that there is an urgent need to address this issue.

"There are around 68,000 NGOs only in the country which have registered with the government to procure funds from abroad. There are many other NGOs that continue to receive funds from abroad and have not registered themselves with the government. These NGOs pose a real danger to national security," said an official.

Very recently, Minister of State for Home, Jitendra Singh had informed the Rajya Sabha that the problem does not only lie within the country, but there are NGOs abroad who also fund terror activities, and so there was a dire need to keep a close watch.

This issue was also raised by the United States recently. US officials found that there were many such organisations which raised funds for terror activities, under the guise of doing charity work.

Most of these organisations were found to be in Saudi Arabia, the US had also said.

Intelligence Bureau officials say that a major part of the headache emerges from the Gulf even for India.

"There are a dedicated set of people who deal in this aspect and they ensure that the fund flow remains smooth. A lot of these funds which come in from the Gulf are first pumped into Kerala, from where it is distributed to the rest of the country. Funds that come under the guise of donations have been sent to other states and parked in the NGOs. The funds are then picked up as and when the need arises," said an official.

Officials say that this is not an issue that India can work on alone. The National Investigating Agency has a dedicated wing which looks into the aspect of financial terrorism.

This wing will be probing into funds being raised illegally by NGOs as well.
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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru
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