India concerned over diamond-smuggling terrorists

An inquiry by economic intelligence agencies and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has revealed heavy use of diamonds by underworld dons and terrorist groups based in India and abroad for money transfers, The Times of India reported.

Diamonds had emerged as an important means of creating hawala money, an IB official told the newspaper. The FBI, too, has alerted India that al-Qaeda is now trying to hold its funds in diamonds and using them to dodge the freeze on its bank accounts.

Consequently, the intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on the diamond trade in the country.

Referring to close networking of terrorist groups and underworld dons in many countries, a top source reportedly said, “In the last few months we have seen that diamond dealers are buying far more diamonds at premium prices than usual.”

“Underworld and terrorist groups find it safe to invest their money in diamonds. It is a commodity that can be easily hidden and holds its value, another official told the newspaper.

Besides, IB officials said that diamonds did not set off alarms at airports, could not be sniffed by dogs or detected easily by customs officials, the newspaper reported. They are handy to carry and can be easily converted into cash.