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Nepal bank probe unearths Pak-sponspored terror racket

While investigating hacking of Nepal’s Rashtra Bank, Nepal cops stumbled upon several accounts in which money was deposited from other countries.

, ET Bureau|
Oct 14, 2019, 08.10 AM IST
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Nepal has been used by Pakistan-based terror groups as safe havens in the past
New Delhi:Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal, Uttar Pradesh police blew the lid off an international terrorism funding racket linked to Nepal’s central bank. The probe involved Indian nationals suspected of bringing in money from Nepal to fund terrorist activities.

The Himalyan nation has been used by Pakistan-based terror groups as safe havens in the past and with Beijing’s increasing interest in Nepal, New Delhi is concerned over rising influence of Pakistan’s all-weather ally in the region.

In 2013, two top Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, including Yasin Bhatkal, were arrested from Pokhra in Nepal.
Officials at North Block told ET, “UP terror funding racket linked to Nepal had a modus operandi similar to one used in Kashmir before abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. We suspect role of some Pakistani nationals based in Nepal.” UP’s director general of police OP Singh said, “The arrested men told police that they used to get money transferred from other countries to bank accounts in Nepal and give 5% commission to account holders.”

The four arrested were identified as Ummed Ali, Sanjay Agarwal, Sameer Salmani and Airaj Ali, all natives of Lakhimpur in UP. Investigations into the module started after Nepal sleuths unearthed Indian links with the racket. While investigating hacking of Nepal’s Rashtra Bank, Nepal cops stumbled upon several accounts in which money was deposited from other countries, said people aware of the matter.

The account holders in Nepal used to get 5-6% commission for withdrawing money from the bank and handing them over to their handlers, who in turn who used to courier it to India, said one of the persons on the condition of anonymity. The accused persons used to get 6% for delivering the sum after changing it into Indian currency, he said.

The accused told police that they used to give the money to Faheem and Sadakat after taking their commissions.
Faheem and Sadakat then used to send this money to Delhi from where it was used for anti-India activities, according to police. During investigation it was also found that a sum of 49 lakh in Nepali currency was recently brought to India.

UP police said that it had ordered a detailed probe by the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS). “From where does the money come in Nepali accounts? What were its sources? Who are the links in Nepal? Who did Faheem and Sadakat use to
give money? Which type of terror activities were funded with this money and who all were beneficiaries of the money? These are some of the questions the ATS will examine,” DGP Singh said.

Police also claimed to have seized 1.35 lakh in Nepalese currency and `4.75 lakh in Indian currency from the suspects which it believes was to be used for terrorist activities. Officials said the Nepal route is used by Pakistani agencies to push fake Indian currency notes (FICN). “This is perhaps for the first time that banks in Nepal have been used to launder money,” said a home ministry official.

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