Need to curb terror funding through targeted economic sanctions, says PM Modi

New Delhi(PTI): Pushing for “targeted economic sanctions” to disrupt fund flows for terrorists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the dastardly attacks in Paris were a grim reminder that terrorists have shown remarkable flexibility in arranging finances.

Modi said the terrorists derive funding from a variety of criminal activities which include smuggling of narcotics, bank robbery, vehicle thefts, fake currency or from state sponsored activities in failed states.

“The dastardly acts committed in Paris a few days ago are a grim reminder that terrorists have shown remarkable flexibility and adaptability in meeting their funding requirements. “Disrupting fund flow constrains the capabilities of terrorists and reduces their ability to execute attacks,” he said addressing the sixth Global Focal Point Conference on Asset Recovery and 21st conference of CBI and state anti- corruption and vigilance bureaux.

“This involves putting in place both systemic safeguards, and targeted economic sanctions based on credible counter-terrorism intelligence,” Modi told the gathering of investigators from 33 countries. Some of the countries were unable to take part in the meet following cancellation of flights in the wake of Paris attacks, CBI officials said.

The Prime Minister said targeting proceeds of crime is an important element in the fight against terrorism and sought international cooperation in this regard. “There is an imperative need to focus our efforts to enhance international co-operation in the field of asset recovery for fighting crime, corruption and terrorism,” he said.

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Globalisation of organised crime poses a major threat to economies throughout the world and it is a well known fact that dirty money drives out good money, he warned.

“Organised crime can hamper investment and economic growth. It can also infiltrate or control a large section of economy. Illicit funding promotes organised criminal activities like drug trafficking, arms trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism,” he said.

Calling for a concerted efforts to clamp down on proceeds of crime, the Prime Minister said economic liberalism and globalisation have drastically increased the ability to park profits of crime anywhere in the world.

“Today proceeds of crime can be routed through dozens of countries within seconds. By a process of layering the money-trail can be concealed. Investigation agencies are limited by national boundaries.

“Our Government is committed to the implementation of a uniform global standard on Automatic Exchange of Information, on a fully reciprocal basis. This will facilitate exchange of information regarding persons who have concealed their money in offshore financial centres and tax havens,” he said. Modi said India is currently in a crucial phase of nation building and the government’s mission is to build a prosperous India where farmers are capable, workers satisfied, women empowered and youth self-reliant.

“However, to achieve this objective, it is essential to fight relentlessly against corruption. India stands committed in its fight against corruption,” he said. The Prime Minister said his government has taken significant steps to check corruption and the menace of black money in a short span of time.

“The very day that we assumed office, we constituted a Special Investigation Team under the supervision of the Supreme Court to look into the issue. We have entered into agreements with many countries for exchanging real time information on black money,” he said. Modi said India has signed the Inter Government Agreement with the United States to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. This Agreement enables Indian tax authorities to receive financial account information of Indians from foreign countries on an automatic basis.

“A comprehensive and deterrent law, the Black Money Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets and Imposition of Tax Act has been enacted. It provides for stringent penalties and prosecution.

“We have also introduced a provision under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for restitution of assets. This will enable millions of poor investors who have lost money in ponzi schemes to recover a part of their hard earned money,” he said.