Photographs: Munish Sharma/Reuters
India faces an increasing inflow of counterfeit currency, produced primarily in Pakistan, and terrorist and criminal networks use this money to finance their activities in the country, an official United States report has said.
"India faces an increasing inflow of high-quality counterfeit currency, which is produced primarily in Pakistan but smuggled to India through multiple international routes," said the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the State Department.
"Criminal networks exchange counterfeit currency for genuine notes, which not only facilitates money laundering, but also represents a threat to the Indian economy," it said.
Funds come from human and narcotics trafficking
Tax avoidance and the proceeds of economic crimes (including fraud, cyber crime and identity theft) are still the mainstay of money launderers in India, but laundered funds are also derived from human and narcotics trafficking, transnational organised crime, illegal trade, particularly in endangered wildlife and illegal gems (principally diamonds), and corruption, the report said.
Noting that India is a significant target for terrorist groups, both external and domestic, the report said most terrorist activities are conducted by international terrorist groups and entities linked to the global jihad, with the support of both state and non-state external actors.
Terrorist groups often use counterfeit currency
In addition, several domestic separatist and insurgent groups are active. Terrorist groups often use counterfeit currency and hawala operatives, as well as physical cross-border currency smuggling, to move funds from external sources to finance their activities in India, it said.
The State Department report recommends that the Indian government should press for presidential approval to implement the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976, which would extend foreign contribution reporting requirements to any non-profit organisation that has a political, cultural, economic, educational or social focus and automate notification of suspicious transactions to the FIU.
Amendments in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act
It also urged the Indian government to facilitate the development of alternative money transfer services, including mobile banking.
"This expansion of legitimate, accessible services would allow broader financial inclusion of legitimate individuals and entities, and reduce AML/CFT vulnerabilities by shrinking the informal network," said the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the State Department.
The Indian government should also extend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to include gem and precious-metals dealers, real estate agents, lawyers, notaries, other independent legal professionals, accountants, and commodity futures brokers and to clearly add a safe harbour provision for those filing STRs in good faith.
It should also emphasise the importance of human intervention and analysis in terrorist financing cases, as the varied profiles of these cases may not trigger an automated report, the State Department said.