There are three incidents that cry out for attention.
The twin blasts of Hyderabad which left 16 dead and 100 persons injured have proven to be a national shame.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde went on record stating he had warned all the states of terrorist attacks.
There are many who suspect Shinde and the Hyderabad blasts are tactics to divert attention from the VVIP chopper scandal, a man called Verma currently lodged in Tihar prison and the recent visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
There is a clear suspicion of a nexus between the Islamic underworld in India funded by Pakistan and the Hyderabad blasts.
There was a huge diamond heist in faraway Brussels – the capital of the European Union, last Monday.
The diamonds bound for India were said to be officially worth US$ 50 million.
Unofficially, the value is believed to be in the region of US$ 350 million.
Shinde withdrew his needless remarks against saffron terror thus triggering the start of parliamentary business during the budget session. The Hyderabad blasts followed thus appearing to “unite the entire nation on certain basic issues.”
Firstly, let us deal with the blasts.
There were 2 blasts.
One bomb that hadn’t gone off was found, defused and is being checked for the methodology in its preparation.
Police sources are being quoted without verification of any of the claims. This is despite the fact that some of the biggest lies of India have been uttered and some of the worst crimes have been committed by rotten apples in the police force.
More often than not, stupid, ill-informed retired asinine men and women offer opinions on issues about which they were never aware of on what can be referred to as idiot boxes or television sets.
For instance, the so-called narco-analysis is continually marketed by criminal vested interests in uniform in India.
Firstly, the value of evidence thus gathered through drugged ‘admissions of guilt’ is less than zero in any court of law.
Secondly, the Supreme Court has banned this abominable practice.
Thirdly, in international terms, administration of drugs to any prisoner is considered a clear criminal activity on the part of any state.
Yet, there are retired DGPs – men and women who root for this nonsense. Worse, know-all telly anchors endorse such views and give it wide publicity!
What can such reports do? Doctored ‘findings’ after narco-analysis have sent teams investigating serious crimes on wild goose chases leading into oblivions of damnation. Trained enemy agents can plant disinformation during such drugged questioning as resistance to such methods of torture is part of the basic training for agents to work under deep cover in enemy territory.
So who would benefit from such perfidy? Well, all of us know the answer: The real perpetrators.
And who aided them?
The startling answer: Police officials and those who masquerade as forensic scientists.
Let us presume that Ajmal Kasav was subjected to serious narco analysis tests after being taken alive.
Under such interrogation, let us also assume that he was sent in to destroy the domestic network of suspect informants helping Indian intelligence departments.
So, the cover of all these elements would have been blown away through amateur cops not in the know of the cover of such agents.
So, the enemy would have found it easy to knock off all such state assets within the enemy camps as all of them would be betrayed.
Is there a way out?
One Professor P Chandra Sekharan, the only man in India to have been awarded the Padma Bhushan for his work in forensics, who is consulted widely on a global scale and who also has headed two universities in India, in the past, has been saying this very, very clearly and openly.
Do sections of the media pay attention and consult him in such matters as it should?
The police have been wringing their hands in despair making it appear that the terrorists are super human beings.
Did any of these cops pay any attention to the reports circulated by the Union Home Ministry that Islamic militants who triggered off blasts in various parts of India – with special emphasis on the city of Pune – had done not one but two reconnaissance missions to do what had been done in Hyderabad on February 21 2013?
Why? There were simply too busy giving security to VVIPs and handling political crises.
One of them has arisen out of the corrupt practices of one Jagan Mohan Reddy who is in prison for alleged corruption.
Reports have indicated that wealth and property worth some Rs. 120 crores have been ‘attached’.
It is a matter of simple knowledge that Jagan’s party won a majority of the legislative seats in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly by elections in the recent past.
His father Dr YS Rajashekhar Reddy died in a chopper crash whose causes’ story has more holes than Swiss cheese.
I am not holding any brief for Jagan or anyone.
Corruption of Re.1 or Rs. 100,000 crores is indeed wrong.
But, the fact is that the police forces – central and state varieties are concentrating on keeping a political opponent in prison.
And the charges are that the Reddy family made Rs.120 crores illegally.
The Commonwealth Games scam is worth Rs.84,000 crores and its main perpetrator one Suresh Kalmadi is out on bail!
The 2G scam is said to be worth somewhere between Rs.9,000 and Rs. 9 lakh crores. Its accused persons are out on bail!
The coal and iron ore scandals are worth a few lakh crores. Did we hear someone being arrested in this?
The chopper pay offs have run into hundreds of crores of rupees. Miraculously, the centre is yet to identify the money trail. Its team of sleuths from the Central Bureau of Investigation went to Milan and returned ‘empty handed’.
In other words, the police forces are busy keeping opponents of ruling parties in prison accused of stealing something slightly more than loaves of bread instead of looking at normal, day-to-day policing and thus save lives and property.
Of course, policemen and women also guard the VVIPs, day in and day out.
Defence and security expert Maroof Raza commented the other day with a guffaw – explaining that cops armed with a single cane standing some 20 feet of each other in some hundreds are supposed to guard VVIP cavalcades travelling at 80 km speed and the same cop guards are supposed to maintain law and order with the same canes when the law breakers are armed with AK47s!
I simply am finding that comment so perfect and so telling.
And Maroof is not some tuppence worth joker in the media.
He served in the army, is aware of the latest developments and is in touch with those within India and abroad to be up to date in these matters.
Shabbaash, Maroof sahib, we need more of you.
Hyderabad had had a blast earlier in 2007.
Here, in a nutshell, is what happened, courtesy, Wikipedia.
The National Investigation Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation and Anti Terrorist Squad (India) claim former members of the RSS were behind the Makkah Masjid bombing.
On November 19, 2010, the Central Bureau of Investigation produced the preacher Swami Aseemanand before the court in connection with the Makkah Masjid blast in Hyderabad in May 2007.
Other cases that he has been linked with include 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, 2008 Malegoan & Modasa bombing and Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast.
On January 15 2011, the confession of Swami Aseemanand was published by Tehelka and CNN-IBN implicating various members of Islamic outfits in other cases such as Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast, 2006 Malegaon blasts, 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, 2008 Malegoan and Modasa bombing.
The confession was done in front of a magistrate citing the guilt he felt after seeing innocent Muslim boys arrested in the case by the police.
However, in late March 2011, Aseemanand redacted his ‘confession’ alleging that he was coerced by the ATS to make a confession
In April, 2010, Aseemanand submitted a letter to the court which said: “I have been pressured mentally and physically by the investigating agencies to ‘confess’ that I was behind these blasts.” He also said he was threatened and pressured to become a government witness in the case.
A letter written by Aseemanand on December 20, 2010, two days after his confession to the CBI, was presented as evidence in January 2011 to show that the confession he gave was actually voluntary. The letter, which was never sent, was addressed to the presidents of India and Pakistan and explained why he had wanted to confess and tell the truth after seeing the innocent people that had been arrested and implicated with him. After Aseemanand’s alleged confession, the families of the 32 men arrested in the aftermath of the bombing have begun demanding the release of the youths from jail. However, this confession was later found to be obtained under duress. In late 2011, Aseemanand wrote a petition to President of India Pratibha Patil describing torture allegedly meted out to him during his confinement, prompting the Punjab and Haryana high courts to issue a notice to the National Investigation Agency to investigate the allegations of torture.
So, to comment on issue number 3 – with regard to Shinde eating crow on the saffron terror matter, should one see something of an understanding between the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance in this regard?
Is it a kind of blackmail quid pro quo?
Or is a threat to keep Gujarat CM Narendra Modi from active campaigning?
Is it too difficult for anyone to find out the perpetrators?
The answer is NO!
What is more important than apprehending the perpetrators of the heinous crime?
Plugging the loopholes that allow smuggling of incendiary and explosive materials into India from our porous borders.
Finding the causes of terrorism and eliminating those incidents that cause the growth of terrorism.
Any and every explosive can be smuggled into India from Pakistan whose citizens do not have to obtain visas to go to Nepal.
There are no visa curbs between those who cross over from Nepal into India.
So, it is easy to smuggle anything from Nepal into India.
Our borders with Bangladesh are a sick joke as in most places not even a marker exists.
The following report published in The Times of India on August 29 2012 is revealing:
NEW DELHI: With indications increasingly suggesting the possibility of a regime change in Dhaka in early 2014, the intelligence establishment here is worried that anti-India forces could once again get a free run to use Bangladesh as a staging post for terrorism and other subversive activities.
The term of the Sheikh Hasina government, which reined in terror outfits operating from its soil, ends in January 2014. Revolving-door politics being much the norm in Bangladesh, it is likely to be the turn of Begum Khaleda Zia, Hasina’s arch rival who is not known to be friendly towards India. In fact, as she rises in the charts capitalizing on Hasina’s incumbency, Khaleda has also been busy painting the prime minister an Indian stooge.
The security agencies fear that Bangladesh-based subversive elements, like those aligned with fundamentalist outfit and BNP partner Jamaat-e-Islami, could resume their policy of sponsoring and sheltering insurgent groups active in northeast India which use the neighbouring country as a safe haven besides providing an infiltration route to Pakistan-sponsored terror outfits.
The communal divide between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims in parts of Assam has the potential to be exploited by Bangladeshi fundamentalists to radicalize the Muslim youth there and add muscle to home-grown terror in India.
New Delhi has got unprecedented cooperation from the Hasina regime in busting the havens of Indian insurgent groups in her country as well as in the investigation of terror incidents with Bangladeshi linkages. However, as the popularity of the Awami League regime under Hasina dips, ceding ground to rival BNP, the agencies fear that the gains of the last few years may be reversed if Khaleda regains power.
It is no secret that Pakistan’s ISI has been using Bangladesh to carry out anti-India operations. Bangladeshi terror outfit HuJI enjoys close links with Pakistani tanzeems. Many of the ISI-sponsored perpetrators of terror attacks in India had either infiltrated through Bangladesh or escaped to the neighbouring country after the strikes.
There are many other instances of ISI links with Bangladesh: ISI footing the election bill of Khaleda in 1991, a revelation made by none other than former ISI chief Assad Durani; NSCN cadres travelling to Pakistan from Dhaka in March 1996 for training in guerrilla warfare; an ISI-sponsored technical expert training ULFA in operation and installation of communication equipment at a Nagaland camp; detaining of NSCN(I-M) chief T Muivah at Bangkok airport in January 2000 while returning from Karachi after allegedly inspecting an arms consignment; and the revelation of arrested All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) cadres that ISI had extended $20,000 assistance to Tk 58 lakh to the outfit, besides imparting arms training to eight ATTF cadres in 1997 at Kandahar, Afghanistan.
With ISI and Bangladeshi group Jamaat-e-Islami allegedly funding Assam-based Muslim fundamentalist groups like MULTA, MULFA, SIMI and Indian Mujahedeen, it is feared that the latter may be used to exploit the tension between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims in Kokrajhar to stoke communal fires and instigate local Muslims to take to home-grown terror.
Another report is even more revealing:
Bangladeshi Immigrants Stoke Terror in India
By Sreeram Chaulia
Sreeram Chaulia is an analyst of international affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship in Syracuse, New York.
Thursday, 15 May 2008
The bombings in Jaipur are the latest in continuing attacks on Indian soil by jihadis from the impoverished east
Investigations into the serial terrorist blasts that killed 80 and injured 216 in the northern Indian tourist city of Jaipur Tuesday point to the Bangladesh-based terrorist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Indian intelligence officials say. The trademark style of the attack as well as the local context in Jaipur adds weight to suspicions on the part of the security agencies that Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami is the lead perpetrator, they say.
A day after the blasts, an unknown group calling itself the homegrown ‘Indian Mujahideen’ released an email claiming responsibility, depicting them as acts of revenge for injustices committed against India’s Muslim minorities. However, the Hindustan Times quoted intelligence sources saying that “It is now almost certain that the Jaipur blasts were caused by the HuJI module responsible for the serial blasts in Uttar Pradesh last year." Intelligence Bureau officers told the newspaper that the email had been sent in an attempt to throw authorities off the trail.
The slums around the walled city of Jaipur are known to be thickly populated by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and are believed by Indian intelligence agencies to be sheltering Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami terrorists. Security alerts had been issued by India’s central authorities to the Rajasthan state government against Bangladeshi immigrants who they say have played crucial roles in abetting terrorist strikes in other parts of the country.
The choice of May 13 as the date to detonate the Jaipur bombs is being interpreted by Indian intelligence sources as a salvo fired by Islamist terrorists on the tenth anniversary of India’s nuclear tests, which heralded the country’s rise as a military power in Asia. Islamists depict India’s nuclear weapons as ‘Hindu bombs’ and have threatened to raid the country’s heavily-guarded nuclear installations.
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, founded in 1992 with the assistance of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front, seeks to establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and to assist in the formation of an international Islamic Caliphate. Its recruits, trained in coastal Bangladesh and on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, have attacked targets in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region and even as far afield as Chechnya.
As scrutiny of Pakistan’s jihadi organizations mounted after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami filled the gap by launching its own attacks in South and Central Asia. Abetted by permissive Islamist governments in Bangladesh, the organization’s cadre strength has risen to about 15,000. Since 2004, its name has been linked to most terrorist attacks that have taken place in distant corners of India, from New Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore to Varanasi, Lucknow, and Hyderabad.
Historical and demographic factors account for the Harkat’s focus on India. Bangladesh was the eastern wing of Pakistan from 1947 to 1971 and its security agenda was India-centric until it became independent. Antagonism between Pakistan and India since the partition of 1947 meant that the thrust of Islamist ideology in Bangladesh was anti-Indian from the time the British left a divided subcontinent.
New Delhi’s role in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 briefly weakened the anti-India Islamists in what had been known as East Pakistan. However, the 1975 military coup in Dhaka and the subsequent alliance between the dictatorships of Bangladesh and Pakistan swung the pendulum back in favor of Islamist propaganda that India was the core obstacle to re-establishing Muslim rule in South Asia.
The fuelling of Islamist fundamentalism by military regimes in Dhaka and Islamabad in the 1980s and 1990s forged new ties between terrorist-cum-spiritual organizations of the two countries. Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan, for instance, developed strong coordination and exchanges with its namesake in Bangladesh in a bid to impose sharia law throughout the region. Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is said to be one of the lead financiers of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, many of whose operational commanders have been educated in Pakistani madrassas.
The upward trajectory of India’s economy over the last 15 years has generated an increasing pull on destitute Bangladeshis wishing to improve their living conditions by crossing the border. There are an estimated 20 million illegal migrants from Bangladesh residing in India. Bangladeshi migration into India is somewhat comparable to that on the Mexico-United States border. Rich households and labor contractors in eastern Indian states reap profits by encouraging Bangladeshi migration, a la orchard owners in the American South who want open borders to attract cheap labor. The difference, however, lies in the fact that many Bangladeshi migrants gravitate towards Islamist outfits with undisguised terrorist intentions. Upon arrival in India, they become natural havens for Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami terrorists owing to linguistic affinity and shared heritage of radical Islamism.
The Jaipur terrorist attacks ironically took place in the wake of significantly improved relations between India and Bangladesh. In February 2008, the military-backed caretaker government in Dhaka sent Bangladesh’s Army Chief General Moeen Ahmed to India on a high profile visit that was hailed by New Delhi as a new chapter in neighborly bonhomie, consecrated by the gift of six thoroughbred horses to Moeen by his Indian counterpart.
Apart from boosting defense ties, according to Bangladesh’s leading newspaper, The Daily Star, New Delhi “took the opportunity to apprise Moeen on its concerns over ‘illegal civilian migration’ from Bangladesh.” The terrorist outrage in Jaipur this week raises questions over how effective Moeen’s visit was in terms of tackling the immigration menace. It also shows that the crux of the problem lies not as much in Bangladesh’s internal politics and economic deprivation as in the permissiveness towards illegal immigration in Indian political circles.
Even if General Moeen kept his part of the bargain with India on reining in Islamists or curbing the exodus of emigrants from Bangladesh, India’s chaotic democratic melee defeats the whole exercise by dangling magnets at the very elements that are terrorizing the country. The painting of Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’, in red blood by suspected Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami terrorists is ultimately a reminder of the compromised ‘softness’ of the Indian state and its provincial branches that border Bangladesh.
Pakistan had been turning agent provocateurs in Bangladesh with ill-gotten money to politically eliminate all those who were the main players in the creation of Bangladesh.
Almost the entire family of Sheikh Mujib was eliminated painfully with bullets.
Bangladesh’s current opposition is run by Jamaat-I-Islami – a rabid, fundamentalist organisation that is has as much in common with real Islamic tenets propounded by Prophet Muhammad [Peace Be Unto Him] as the bottoms of Bay of Bengal has with the surface of the planet Mercury.
And the Jamaat-I-I draws political sustenance from Pakistan and other Islamic terrorist organisations.
The Jamaat-I-I of Bangladesh has links with terrorist bodies in India and those in Pakistan – facts well documented in organisations such as the UN!
So why are we not building a strong barbed wire border with Bangladesh please?
The centre will not answer this question.
So why is India ignoring the movement in Bangladesh that demands the death penalty for all those who perpetrated war crimes against their citizens – at the behest of the cruellest army in the world – belonging to a nation called Pakistan?
The centre has no answer again.
There are cowboy and cowgirl media apologists who are defending this silence by saying in future tense that the silence is because an open endorsement will result in India being accused of aiding and abetting it.
There cannot be a worse joke because J-I-I jokers in Bangladesh have been saying this for the past 10 years and have been terming Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party as India’s stooge since 1971, ever since India liberated Bangladesh!
India had to liberate Bangladesh because the genocide of Bengali speaking Muslims at the hands of Urdu and Punjabi speaking Muslims of Pakistan had sent some 2 million refugees from East Pakistan into India!
Those local, Bengali speaking cruel villains who collaborated with the Pakistani rapist killers are being targeted by a highly popular movement in Bangladesh.
And India’s hands-off attitude actually helps the pro-Pakistani elements in Bangladesh!
What does that result in?
Well, Pakistan exports terrorism into India also through Bangladesh.
If the Hyderabad blasts are the handiwork of Indian Mujahedeen who are connected to agent provocateurs in Bangladesh, is there a big link between the movement to hang the Bangladeshi genocide merchants owing allegiance to Pakistan and the events in India?
The British angle to the whole thing was already exposed in these columns.
Here is the link:
Incident number 2:
Eight heavily armed men needed only five minutes to complete a robbery in in front of everyone’s eyes worth US$ 50 million in diamonds.
On February 18 2013 robbers entered Brussels international airport snatched diamonds whose declared [and ipso facto insured] value was US$ 50 million and simply vanished into thin air.
There is a big Indian angle to this.
The European modus operandi was very, very simple, but highly organised.
Some of the details:
A hole was dug into the perimeter fence of the Brussels Airport.
For some 2 minutes they drove parallel to the runway and stopped near an aircraft bound for Zurich carrying a package of polished and uncut diamonds valued at US$ 50 million by insurers and on the waybill.
The perpetrators were dressed in police uniforms and their vans had looked ‘very official’ with flashing lights.
The hold of the passenger aircraft headed to Switzerland was pried open.
Very swiftly, about 120 packages containing the diamonds were unloaded as the guards at the airport were held at gunpoint. The robbers knew exactly what they were looking for.
The heist completed, the station wagons went out the same way driving at break-neck speed.
The entire operation was over so quickly that the passengers on the aircraft had no idea anything was wrong until their flight was abruptly cancelled.
A little while later one van was found burnt out.
“This was a very precise, almost military-organised and well-executed robbery,” airport spokesman Jan Van der Cruysse was quoted as saying on CNN.
“They arrived at Brussels Airport armed with automatic weapons and dressed in police uniforms aboard two vehicles equipped with blue police lights,” Andrew Higgins said in The New York Times. “But, their most important weapon was information.”
The diamonds, from Antwerp, were loaded on the Zurich-bound aircraft from a Brinks armoured van only about 12 minutes before take-off and a few minutes before the plane started moving.
Brussels Airport is always heavily guarded by police and security personnel because of its role as a key hub in Antwerp’s lucrative diamond trade.
“I am certain this was an inside job,” Doron Levy, the Jewish expert in airport security at the French risk management company Ofek told reporters.
Such an “incredibly audacious and well organized” theft requires very experienced criminals with nerves of steel, but also lots of insider details. “In big jobs like this we are often surprised by the level of preparation and information the perpetrators have. The criminals probably even knew some of the employees by their first names,” Levy said.
Police found a burned-out van near the airport with very little clues.
No arrests have been made so far.
This was the first heist at the Brussels Airport since 2002, when it beefed up security after a string of diamond robberies in the 1990s.
Quoting security officials, Daniel Michaels commented in The Wall Street Journal that events such as the Brussels robbery may be impossible to prevent completely.”
In his report, Michaels pointed out the following:
All airports employ thousands of low-paid workers and face high staff turnover.
People handling airfreight are aware of valuable consignments because every cargo shipment carries a waybill, which is similar to a passenger’s boarding pass.
Waybills must move openly through cargo systems so handlers can plan how to load freight.
The theft was a blow to the airport, which transports about $200 million worth of diamonds a day to and from Antwerp, about 25 miles away.
Brussels, the capital of the European Union faces stiff competition from a small Luxembourg airport that promises more security.
The Antwerp diamond industry is the bigger loser.
The declared value of the diamonds was $50 million.
Experts, however, say the haul could be worth up to $350 million, making it potentially larger than the $100 million theft from the heart of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre in 2003.
The real threat, though, is to Antwerp’s dominance of the world’s diamond trade, says Paul Waldie at Canada’s Globe and Mail.
In his report, he points out the following:
The industry has yet to fully recover from the 2008 financial crisis, which sent sales plunging.
Antwerp has seen its dominant position in the trade come under attack from offshore rivals, particularly in India.
Things became serious enough that the industry and government banded together last year and produced a strategy, called Project 2020, to reclaim Antwerp’s position.
Part of the strategy included improving security, something that had been lacking for years — especially at the Brussels airport.
The government boosted security, but clearly not enough to prevent the newest theft.
So what is the Indian angle?
Another WSJ article in this regard is very, very revealing.
It turned out that the diamonds were on their way to India according to a report published February 20 under the by-line of Biman Mukherjee with a New Delhi dateline.
“The goods were on their way to India. People won’t lose money because they were insured, but there will be a temporary shortage of rough diamonds,” Sanjay Kothari, convenor of promotion and marketing at the state-backed Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, told The Wall Street Journal.
Mr Kothari said the council is yet to get details about the heist from authorities in Brussels.
The brazen heist is Europe’s highest-value airport-tarmac holdup in a decade, aviation-security exports said.
Authorities didn’t detail exactly what was stolen, so estimates of the value of the goods varied.
The declared value of the stolen diamonds, a mix of rough and polished stones, was about $50 million, according to a spokeswoman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, a coordinator for local diamond traders.
India is the world’s biggest diamond-processing center and accounts for about 95% of the global trade in cut-and-polished diamonds.
Gem and jewellery exports account for nearly 15% of the country’s total merchandise exports.
In her November 2012 report, Alexandra Katz of Russia-and-India-Report [RIR] said thus:
Russia and India play significant roles in the global diamond market, the former as a biggest rough diamond producer and the latter as a largest cutting and polishing centre. However, they are yet to find a short and trouble-free way to make the diamond trade profitable.
Russia continues to be the largest producer of rough diamonds in the world by volume. According to Kimberly Process (KP) statistics and Alrosa, Russia’s largest mining company reports, Russia’s production in 2011 increased 12.3 percent in value to $2.6 billion.
“Russia accounted for 23.5 per cent of the total diamond production in terms of volume, and 25 percent in terms of value, in 2010.
Alrosa, the state-owned company, was the largest diamond manufacturer in the world, followed by De Beers, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton,” says the Frost & Sullivan’s Outlook of the Russian Diamond Market.
India along with Belgium and Israel are the main buyers of Russian rough diamonds. According to Russia’s Ministry of Finance, in the first 6 month of 2012, Russia exported diamonds worth $1.8 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent over the previous year. However, the volume of export decreased 15 percent from 18.1 million carats in first half 2011 to 15.4 million carats for the same period of 2012.
The decrease of rough diamond exports is a global trend. The volume of global production declined by 3.4 percent last year to 124 million carats while the value of the output increased to 20-25 percent since 2011 as demand is driving the prices. Through rough prices declined by 8-15 percent in the second half of 2012, they still remain too high for diamonds importers experiencing a liquidity crisis.
In 2011-2012, rough diamond imports decreased globally up to 7.1 percent by volume and almost 35 percent by value, according to Kimberly Process report.
India, the largest diamond importer after London and Belgium and a leader in the polished diamond market holding approximately 60 percent market share by value and 80 percent by volume, decreased its imports of rough in past nine month by 12.8 percent, to $7 billion according to Indian Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) data.
India’s export growth this year is expected to stay flat considering the global economic environment, the latest developments in US (India’s largest export market), fluctuations in the value of the Rupee in the last six months and overall increase of prices of rough diamonds. India’s polished diamond exports in 2012 dropped 41 percent from $13.28 billion in the same period of 2011 to $7.8 billion.
Almost 50 percent of diamonds exported from India are sold to US, according to GJEPC statistics. Exports to Russia are far less, totalling $8.2 million in 2011. Russia with its small local diamond manufacturing industry but impressive retail market with $16 billion annual turnover is an attractive target for Indian diamantaires. However the import duty structure on polished diamonds in Russia remains a grave barrier.
“Custom duties are flat 20 percent on invoice value. On top of that the importer pays 1 to 2 percent of inspection levy and 18 percent VAT which raises the value of the imported jewellery to retailer by almost 42 percent. Such duties are not reasonable at all. Nowhere in the world does one pay such duties as we do in Russia. The government should understand that imposition of tax on diamonds leads to illegal diamond trade and the government loses more”, says Alex Popov, the President of Moscow Diamond Bourse (MDB).
In order to bypass the charges, importers opt for better routes. “Most of the goods from India are now going to Russia via Dubai, Antwerp, Israel and other countries through different resellers usually associated either with Indian manufacturers of Russian buyers. But from now, we believe, the direct business will be developing faster. The middlemen need to be cut,” says Sanjay Kothari, vice chairman of GJEPC. “We also believe that duties in Russia will be reduced, especially after Russia enters the WTO.”
Alex Popov agrees that the presence of Indian jewellery in Russian market is growing. “In the past, foreign jewellery in the Russian market was represented mostly by Turkey, which almost had a 60 percent share in the import market. Today Turkey contributes 35-40 percent, same as China, and the rest is divided by India, Italy and other exporters.”
According to Russian industry experts, even considering Russia’s entry to WTO, the process of abolition of diamond-import duty may take significant time, though it would give Russia a better position in diamond markets.
“Six years back the Chinese Government reduced value-added taxes on polished diamond imports from 17 percent to 4 percent and it gave a huge impact in the market along with more income from diamond taxes. Today China is one of the trade and manufacturing centres of diamond jewellery competing with India, Israel and UAE,” Popov says.
Popov considers Russia as a promising market not only for exports from India but as a platform to create joint manufacturing units. “Indian technology is very advanced; add some Russian quality control and such a joint venture would be successful. Moreover, such joint ventures can also export jewellery to CIS countries where the demand for good quality jewellery is growing.” Popov said. He added that diamond manufacturing in Russia remains on the level of a cottage industry as a proper supply chain required for industrial manufacturing does not exist in Russia.
“The difference between Russian and Indian manufacturing lies in the specialisation. While India produces mass products we in Russia focus on the exclusive segment,” says Maxim Shkadov, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Kristall Production Corporation and chairman of the Board, Association of Diamond Manufacturers of Russia. He added that uniqueness of Russian domestic diamonds can benefit both Russian and Indian manufacturers. “What India can’t process, Russia can, and vice-versa”.
Diamonds, Indian politicians and the Islamic underworld
A report filed by Rajesh Joshi for the magazine Outlook in 1994, a clear link between diamonds, Indian politicians and the Islamic Underworld – headed by Dawood Ibrahim was revealed.
The Vohra Committee that probed the links between Congress politicians and the underworld after the 1993 Bombay Blasts revealed that the UAE Diamond Trade was being controlled by a nexus of traders in India – one Mool Chand Shah also known as Choksi whose links with Nationalist Congress Party [NCP] boss Sharad Pawar, Dawood Ibrahim and several shady operators is well known.
•Dawood Ibrahim: Sharad Pawar, Salim Zakaria, Javed Khan (both ex-ministers close to Pawar)
•Mohammed Dosa: Madan Baffna (ex-minister)
•P. Raj Koli: Arun Mehta (former home minister)
•Haji Ahmed: D.V. Patil, Javed
•Khan-Khan Brothers: Arun Mehta, Salim Zakaria (ex-ministers)
•Tiger Memon: Javed Khan
The MHA report lists, among others, god-man Chandraswami and notorious criminal Babloo Srivastava as close associates of Dawood.
•Abdul Latif : Chimanbhai Patel (ex-chief minister)
•Rati Lal Deva Navik: Cadir Peerjada ( PCC vice-president),
•Izzu Sheikh, Haji: Ahmed Patel, AICC general secretary
•Hassana Dada: C.D. Patel (home minister), Thakor Nair (supply minister).
•Amar Subhania: Chimanbhai Patel
•Ram Bhai Gadwai: Ashok Lal (“s/o Babu Lal, minister of sports”) Santosheben Jadeja, MLA: “Earlier of Janata Dal. Joined Congress. Known as mafia queen.”
Just last year they had called it a damp squib. Now it looks like another political tinderbox, awaiting ignition. In mid-1995, when the N.N. Vohra Committee report on the criminal-politician nexus was tabled in Parliament, the Opposition was united in heaping scorn on it. The perception was that the 12-page report was incomplete and politically sensitive information had been suppressed. Months later, after the episode had receded from public memory, there is evidence to confirm that suspicion. Some documents submitted to the committee by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and procured by Outlook reveal shocking charges of the murky link between prominent politicians and the underworld.
The MHA report alleges that there was a definite nexus between underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s associates and former Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar.
According to the report, Mool Chand Shah alias Choksi—a hawala racketeer also involved in the Jain case and “close to Dawood Ibrahim and gang”—had, on various occasions between December 1979 and October 1992,transferred or paid Rs 72 crore to Pawar. Many other Congress leaders have also been listed as recipients of money from Shah.
The report states that “between December 1979 and February 1980, Mool Chand Choksi paid Rs 7 crore to Sharad Pawar, which was received from an undisclosed source in the West”. It also confirms that Choksi had “developed closeness” with Dawood and his gang way back in 1980.
Shah was also responsible for transferring money for “various important people of Bombay to the Middle-East and other countries for safe caching”.
Choksi is said to have paid another instalment of Rs 5 crore around May 1991 to Pawar. According to the report, “the amount was reportedly transferred from a Middle-Eastern country through the hawala channel.
Reportedly, the above amounts were paid for election purposes”. Shah not only provided Pawar with funds for elections but was also used by the latter to siphon money abroad.
“On behalf of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, [gangster and real estate don of northwest Mumbai suburbs] Pappu Kalani had handed over Rs 20 crore to Choksi in September 1990 for transferring abroad. Another amount of Rs 50 crore was transferred by Choksi on behalf of the chief minister,” the report says.
The deal was executed through an advocate.
The report says that Choksi had been in constant touch with Pawar till a few months before the Bombay blasts. A major transaction of Rs 10 crore allegedly took place in October 1992.
In this transaction, say the documents, “Choksi delivered an amount of Rs 10 crore to the nephew of Sharad Pawar. The amount had reportedly come from the Middle-East.” Shah was arrested under TADA on May 4, 1993, for funding Tiger Memon with Rs 2.5 crore for the blasts.
During the interrogation of Usman Ghani, an accused in the Bombay blasts case, it was revealed that he had established contacts with the glitterati of Bombay for siphoning their black money through the hawala conduit to foreign accounts.
The report names “a very top politician of Bombay” apart from a few film stars. “Some of the important personalities whose money he (Ghani) transacted are Dilip Kumar, Feroze Khan and one Banerjee, an advocate of Bombay, who is reported to be very close to a very top politician of Bombay.”
Hawala operators like Choksi mentioned in the MHA report are also involved in the new multi-crore Jain hawala scandal. Apart from Shah, the name of a Delhi-based hawala dealer, Shambhu Dayal Sharma alias Guptaji, figures in the report.
It was Sharma’s arrest in 1991 and his subsequent interrogation which led the CBI to raid J.K. Jain’s residence, where it stumbled across the now-famous diaries. Sharma had told the CBI that he used to work for J.K Jain. The MHA reports say that Sharma had been funnelling money to politicians for over a decade.
Sharma’s name first came to the notice of the authorities in May 1985 when he allegedly acted as a conduit for Choksi in an Rs 3-crore payoff to Arun Nehru, the then internal security minister.
Inquiries made by the Government agencies, on which the MHA report is based, reveals that Mool Chand Shah lived in 604, Rajendra Vihar, Guildern Lane, Lamington Road in Bombay. The hawala kingpin hails from Dhinmal village in Jalore district, Rajasthan. His father migrated to Bombay and tried his hand at the textile business.
Later, the Shahs switched to the diamond trade.
Choksi’s underworld activities aroused enough curiosity to prompt investigations by various agencies. But he managed to skip the dragnet of the law, thanks to his political clout. In March 1989, a detention order — No. SPL 3(A)PSA 0189/107 under COFEPOSA was issued against him. But this order was “revoked by the Government of Maharashtra” on May 10, 1990, “without assigning any reason”.
“The revocation was done at the behest of the Home Minister … Arun Mehta, a close Pawar confidante. For this action, Arun Mehta and other politicians were paid Rs 2 crore by Choksi,” the report notes.
The Enforcement Directorate and the Marine and Preventive Wing of the Customs, Bombay, also registered cases against Choksi in 1989 and 1990 respectively. He was arrested on November 30, 1990, in connection with one of the cases but was immediately released on bail.
“Every time he procured his bail either on technical grounds through his lawyers or through money power,” the report adds.
It is also admitted that Choksi could never be interrogated at length because of the fact that he had “sympathisers” at the Centre and in the state government. He was held again in April 1991 following Sharma’s arrest in connection with “an international conspiracy of funding terrorist organisations in Kashmir”. Even when he was being interrogated by the Bombay police, Choksi used to claim that he could not be kept under detention for long because of his “high political connection”. The report says: “He was dropping the name of Chandra Shekhar, former Prime Minister, in this connection.”
A part of Dawood’s operations were based in Gujarat, particularly along the coast.
The MHA report also lists politicians from the state who had links with the underworld. Among those named is the then chief minister, late Chimanbhai Patel, and AICC General Secretary Ahmed Patel.
The report, had it been tabled in Parliament along with the much-maligned Vohra panel report, would have fulfilled the objective set before it when it was constituted on July 9, 1993.
After the Bombay blasts, when the then internal security minister Rajesh Pilot ordered that the committee be set up, it was asked “to take stock of all available information about the activities of crime syndicate/mafia organisations which had developed links with and were being protected by Government functionaries and political personalities.”
The Vohra Committee had the information but no one in the Congress wanted it to see the light of day. The procrastinations that followed resulted in the 12 pages of generalities that has now come into the open and nothing specific about the vicious nexus in operation in three countries.
Therefore the final question to be asked:
IS THE ISLAMIC UNDERWORLD WORKING HARD TO CHALLENGE THE WORLD, ITS DIAMOND TRADE AND THEREBY SENDING A WARNING TO GROUPS LIKE EUROPEAN UNION, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND BRITAIN NOT TO EXTEND ANY TRADE TIES TO NARENDRA MODI AND THUS KEEP THE UNITED PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE IN POWER?