In a concerning development, Indian intelligence agencies have uncovered a novel method employed by the anti-India terror outfit Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) to finance its operations. BKI, designated as a terrorist organization by India and several other countries, has reportedly abandoned traditional hawala channels and shifted towards exploiting loopholes in India’s Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) intended for foreign tourists.
The MTSS allows international tourists visiting India to transfer personal remittances through designated channels. While seemingly innocuous, intelligence sources allege that BKI has infiltrated the system by collaborating with tour guides and offering them commissions to receive remittances into their personal accounts. These “tourist-agents” then withdraw the funds minus their commission and subsequently hand over the remaining sum to BKI’s local contacts, effectively funneling illegal funds for terrorist activities.
The potential scale of this financial maneuver is not to be underestimated. While individual MTSS transactions are capped at USD 2,500, a single beneficiary can receive up to 30 remittances in a year, significantly amplifying the overall amount transferable. This makes it a lucrative and relatively low-risk method for BKI to circumvent traditional financial monitoring mechanisms.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken cognizance of these alarming reports and initiated discussions with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to tighten regulations and safeguard the MTSS framework from further misuse. This incident highlights the evolving and often ingenious tactics employed by terror groups to finance their activities, necessitating constant vigilance and robust counter-measures by security agencies.