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David Headley mess: Why FBI needs to pull its socks up

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

A report published recently has concluded that FBI even after being a top notch crime fighting organizations needs to pull up its socks. It needs faster reforms to transform itself into a threat-based, intelligence-driven organization.

In the 26/11 terror assault on Mumbai, Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was left free by FBI.  The report noted that Headley had previously come to the attention of US law enforcement authorities but FBI officials repeatedly concluded that Headley did not pose a threat at the time.

In December 2007, Headley’s Moroccan wife accepted to US officials at the US embassy in Islamabad that her husband was a terrorist. But the FBI investigation did not start until 2009.

“One of the main lessons from the Headley case is that absent an intelligence effort across the US Intelligence Community to understand the connections among cases and complaints across field offices, relevant intelligence may fall by the wayside,” report said.

Headley had previously worked as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informant in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, following two heroin trafficking arrests.

“The Headley case raises the important question faced by all intelligence agencies – certainly important to the FBI – of how to scan and assess voluminous amounts of collected information strategically and identifying valuable intelligence leads,” the report said.

“Still, more than a decade after 9/11, the FBI must prioritize empowering and equipping its analytic cadre to make these connections with cutting edge technology, to minimize the risk of the FBI missing important intelligence information,” it said.

In the Headley case, it was the effort of an analyst who was able to connect him to an ongoing plot in Denmark. The report noted, “he conducted his activities with all the skills of a trained intelligence operative-able to travel to and from the United States, Pakistan, and India with relative ease and eluding authorities.”

The FBI had no information on Headley’s connections to Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) until they were provided with clue later in 2009. In Chicago, National Security Letters helped the FBI track David Headley and better understand his involvement in the Copenhagen plot directed by Ilyas Kashmiri, Al Qaeda’s chief of external operations and the head of the Pakistani extremist organization, Harakat ul Jihad al Islami.

 

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Punjab National Bank detects $1.8 bn fraud at a Mumbai branch, Links to Nirav Modi

Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India

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Punjab National Bank is India's second largest bank. Wikimedia Commons
Punjab National Bank is India's second largest bank. Wikimedia Commons
  • Punjab National bank has detected a $1.8 billion fraud
  • The fraud happened in their Mumbai branch
  • The matter has been referred to law enforcement

Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches here, the bank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges on Wednesday.

Punjab National Bank experiences a fraud of $1.8 bn.
Punjab National Bank experiences a fraud of $1.8 bn.

“The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance,” the filing by the bank said.

It had quoted the quantum of such transactions was to the tune of around $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore).

The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

Also Read: Raghuram Rajan: The Man Who Revolutionized The Indian Banking System

This case has happened at a time when the Indian banking system is already grappling to tackle its swelling non-performing assets.

“Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad. In the bank these transactions are contingent in nature and liability arising out of these on the bank shall be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions,” the filing said.

Punjab National Bank's Mumbai branch is now under high scrutiny. Wikimedia Commons
Punjab National Bank’s Mumbai branch is now under high scrutiny. Wikimedia Commons

The bank informed: “The matter is already referred to law enforcement agencies to examine and book the culprits as per law of the land.”

On February 5, the Central Bureau of Investigation had booked billionaire diamond service provider Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and an enterprise companion for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank of over Rs 280.70 crore last year.

Also Read: Con man in Delhi Duped Amazon for over Rs. 50 Lakh; Arrested by Delhi Police for Fraud

Following the complaint, the CBI registered a FIR under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the four.

The stock of Punjab National Bank was trading at Rs 149.20 per share, down 7.70 percent at the BSE at 1.59 p.m. IANS

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