NEW DELHI: The series of raids on Kashmir-based non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and sympathisers of terror outfits by intelligence and enforcement agencies are part of a strategy of the government to dismantle the terror infrastructure in the Valley and cripple sources of terror financing, a pre-condition for India to clear the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) test coming up sometime early next year.

The fourth round of the on-site visit of the FATF team for ‘mutual evaluations’ of India is to take place sometime in February/March next year.

India was removed from the ‘regular follow up process’ after a 2013 plenary meeting of the FATF which found ‘satisfactory level of compliance’. India had carried out all the required legislative reforms associated with anti-money laundering and countering terror financing (AML & CFT) as recommended by the Paris-based intergovernmental body.

Clearing the FATF test is not an easy task for enforcement agencies as they have to prove ‘decisive actions’ on the ground against money laundering and terror financing to avoid being part of the Grey list,which is where Pakistan has found itself in recent times.

Being on the grey list of FATF impedes foreign investments and the country’s trade with others in view of stringent conditions imposed on the financial system and on the inter-governmental transactions. Since 2010, when it became a member of the Paris-based body, India has carried out several legislative reforms and enacted laws required as part of FATF’s guidelines on AML/CFT.

As part of actions on the ground, the government has asked all agencies to file charge sheets in a time-bound manner and ensure completion of trials and convictions in cases registered by them. Indian agencies' record of obtaining convictions in cases investigated by them is very poor owing to many reasons, including witnesses turning hostile or delay in the trial process, all pointing at deficiencies in the present prosecution system.

The searches on Wednesday and Thursday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Kashmir-based NGOs and some over ground workers of terror outfits are just among a series of actions being taken against those associated with Pakistan-based terror sponsors. The NIA actions have come just after the Enforcement Directorate attached assets of many hawala operators and Srinagar-based businessmen used by Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed to fund terror operations in the Valley.

The RBI had recently cancelled the licences of 19 foreign exchange agents across the country after they were found issuing foreign currencies, particularly US dollars, to people without keeping track of who they were or what had been their source of funds. Thousands of crores worth of foreign currencies have been distributed by these agents without maintaining any record. A lot of this is suspected to be dirty money, proceeds of crime, and used for anti-national activities, including terror financing.

The ED last month filed a charge sheet against hawala dealers, terror sympathisers and heads of terror outfits, including LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. Its probe revealed many in the Union Territory of J&K, including some NGOs, were founded by Saeed’s Pak-based NGO Falah-i-Insaniyat for terror operation and providing safe houses to Pak-based terrorists operating in the Valley.