Globalization and faster means of communication have created avenues for crime. Complexity of involvement of various jurisdictions as well as its adverse impact on each state makes it a global challenge. Criminals exploit inequality and vulnerability, and profit from gaps in development and enforcement. With a turnover estimated to be around US$ 870 billion a year (2012), organized criminal networks profit from the sale of illegal goods wherever there is a demand. Organized crime adds to an increase in public spending for security and policing.
Crimes commonly include money laundering; human smuggling; cyber crime; and trafficking of humans, drugs, weapons, endangered species, body parts, or nuclear material. It is an illicit business that transcends cultural, social, linguistic and geographical boundaries and one that knows no borders or rules. It threatens peace and human security, leads to human rights being violated.
Organized Crime: Definition
- The term organized crime usually refers to largescale and complex criminal activities carried out by tightly or loosely organized associations and aimed at the establishment, supply and exploitation of illegal markets at the expense of society. Such operations are generally carried out with a ruthless disregard of the law, and often involve offences against the person, including threats, intimidation and physical violence.
- Any group having a corporate structure whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption.
Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999
- “Organized crime” means any continuing unlawful activity by an individual, singly or jointly, either as a member of an organized crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate, by use of violence or threat of violence or intimidation or coercion, or other unlawful means, with the objective of gaining pecuniary benefits, or gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or any person or promoting insurgency.
Organized Crime: Characteristics
Hierarchical and Well Structured
- These groups are structured as a collection of hierarchically arranged interdependent offices devoted to the accomplishment of a particular function.
- It shows some order of authority, command, and control as the ranks are based on power and authority.
Membership is given after Scrutiny
- The membership in the core criminal group is restricted and based on common traits such as ethnicity, criminal background or common interests. The rules of membership include secrecy, a willingness to commit any act for the group and intent to protect the group.
- In return, members receive economic benefits, certain prestige, and protection from law enforcement.
- Obtain profit through criminal enterprise.
- Provide illegal goods and services desired by general public.
Violent in Execution
- Violence and the threat of violence are an integral part of a criminal group. The violence or threat of it is used against the members of the group to keep them in line as well as to restrain competition from other group.
Survive Beyond the Members
- Criminal group is structured to survive the changes in the leadership to provide continuity of operations.
Disturb Public Disorder and Tranquility
- Organized criminals’ activities disturb the normal public functioning, affect the morale of the society, hurts legitimate economy and rule of law.
Intimidation to Force Settlement
- When transactions are done in cash to evade taxes, recovery of dues from debtors cannot be taken to courts. Such disputes tend to be settled by organized criminal gangs who take certain percentage of recovered sum.
- Organized crime adopts all forms of corruption to infiltrate political, economic and social levels. It undermines state authority.
- There is a symbiotic relationship between organized crime and underdevelopment. Most victims of their corrupt activities are poor, women and children.
Monopolization of Trade
- Monopolization means obtaining exclusive control over specific goods and services. Although limited to certain activities and geographical area, gradually they expand into a wider range of activities extended over large geographical areas to secure monopoly in their criminal enterprises.
Transnational Nature of Organized Crime
Transnational organized crime is big business. In 2009 it was estimated to generate 1.5% of global GDP. It was more than six times the amount of official development assistance for that year. With advances in technology, ease in moving finances and travel across the globe have created opportunities for the organized crime to function across different countries.
Types of Organized Crime
- Arms Trafficking: It acts as the lifeblood of the organized crime by facilitating trade in illegal drugs, trafficking in human beings. The supply of stolen, smuggled and replica guns fuels urban gang conflict.
- Drug Trafficking: It is perhaps the most serious organized crime affecting the country and is truly transnational in character. It continues to be the most lucrative form of business for criminals, with an estimated annual value of $320 billion in 2003 (UNODC). India is geographically situated between the countries of Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos) and Golden Crescent (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan) and is a transit point for narcotic drugs produced in these regions to the West. Illicit drug trade in India centers around five major substances, namely, heroin, hashish, opium, cannabis and methaqualone. Seizures of cocaine, amphetamine, and LSD are not unknown but are insignificant and rare.
- Wildlife Trafficking: Organized criminal groups, with poachers target skins and body parts for export to foreign markets. It threatens the existence of some species. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), traffickers illegally move over 100 million tons offish, 1.5 million live birds and 440,000 tons of medicinal plants per year. International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) is the collaborative effort by five inter-governmental organizations working to bring coordinated support to the national wildlife law enforcement agencies and to the sub-regional and regional networks.
- Human Trafficking and Flesh Trade: Human trafficking is a global crime in which men, women and children are used as products for sexual or labour-based exploitation. India is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficked persons. Most of the trafficking, however, takes place within India itself. The problem of bonded labour and indentured servitude is also significant. Some local culturally-sanctioned practices (e.g., the Devadasi system) also expose women and girls to sexual exploitation and trafficking. Smuggling of migrants is a well-organized business moving people around the globe through criminal networks, groups and routes. In the process of being smuggled, their rights are often breached and they can be robbed, raped, beaten, held for ransom or even left to die in some cases (e.g. migrants drown in the sea, die of dehydration in a desert or suffocate in a container).
Originally, Mafia meant an organized criminal organization of Italian, predominantly Sicilian heritage. The ultimate aim of Mafia is to earn money. Below are some of the means to achieve this goal.
- Coercion: Coercion may be violent or non-violent (e.g. strike). In the context of mafia activities, coercion is the use of external force to inflict harm, physical or psychological, to achieve the desired end and to exercise social control.
- Extortion: Extortion from businessmen and industrialists is another regular source of income for organized criminal gangs. Since the entire business community can be terrorized into submission, few will oppose making the regular payment or ‘hafta’ to the gangs. In return for the hafta, the organized criminal gang provides ‘protection’ from other criminal gangs. Extortion money is fuelling the insurgency in the North-East India with substantial revenue loss to the government.
- Protection Racket:
- Also called Racketeering, it is a criminal system of taking money from people in exchange for agreeing not to hurt them or damage their property.
- Some fringe groups issue threats and then provides security to act as protection racket.
- Criminal Rackets differs from Criminal syndicates in the sense that the service is rendered to people who are normally engaged in legitimate businesses while in the syndicate the activity is totally illegitimate and prohibited.
- Contract Killings: An unwritten agreement to provide a sum of money to a second party who agrees, in return, to commit a designated murder. The method adopted in contract killings is by engaging a professional gang for a monetary consideration. Colloquially, hiring someone as a contract killer is referred to giving him ‘supari’. The value of the ‘supari’ depends on the importance of the person to be killed and the difficulty involved in killing.
- Kidnappings refer to the taking or abduction of an individual against his or her will, usually followed by some duration of captivity.
- Reasons for Kidnapping: Demand of ransom payment, as a political terrorist event, or the abduction of a child, often following a child custody dispute.
- As per the National Crime Records Bureau data, incidence of kidnapping and abduction was 88,008 in 2016 with Uttar Pradesh ranking highest in incidence of the crime followed by Maharashtra.
- Launder means “to wash something”. Money laundering means conversion of illegal and ill-gotten money into seemingly legal money so that it can be integrated into the legitimate economy.
- Sources of money laundering or ways to obscure source of money:
- (a) Proceeds of drug related crimes.
- (b) Tax evasion
- (c) Violation of exchange regulations.
- This aim is generally achieved via the intricate steps of
- (a) Placement,
- (b) Layering and
- (c) Integration
- The money so integrated in the legitimate economy can be freely used by the offenders without any fear of detection.
- Money laundering poses a serious threat world over, not only to the criminal justice systems of the countries but also to their sovereignty.
- The offense of importing prohibited articles, or of defrauding the revenue by the introduction of articles into consumption, without paying the duties chargeable upon them.
- India has a vast coast line of about 7,500 kms and open borders with Nepal and Bhutan and is prone to large scale smuggling of contraband and other consumable items.
- The volume and nature of smuggled items and the quantum thereof is determined by the prevailing fiscal policies.
- The CBIT is a part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance. It deals with the tasks of formulation of policy prevention of smuggling.
- The term “Terrorism” comes from the French word Terrorisme, which is based on the Latin verb “terrere” (to cause to tremble).
- As per the United Nations Security Council, terrorism is any act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.
- India proposed The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in 1996 in the United Nations. Its negotiations are underway. It intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism, deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
- Conceptually, terrorism does not fall in the category of organized crime, as the dominant motive behind terrorism is political and/or ideological and not the acquisition of money-power.
- The Indian experience, however, shows that the criminals are perpetrating all kinds of crimes, such as killings, rapes, kidnappings, gun-running and drug trafficking, under the umbrella of terrorist organizations.
- Terrorism has immensely affected India. The reasons for terrorism in India may vary vastly from religious to geographical to caste to history. The Indian Supreme Court took a note of it in Kartar Singh vs State of Punjab.
- At present The National Security Act, 1980 and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008 deals with terrorist activities in India.
- State Enacted Laws:
- (a) MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act)
- (b) Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organized Crime (GCTOC)
- Anti-terrorism laws in India have always been a subject of much controversy. One of the arguments is that these laws stand in the way of fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.
Challenges to Containment of Organized Crime
There are several difficulties in combating organized crime:
- Legal Loopholes: India does not have a special law to control/suppress organized crime. Being a continuing conspiracy, the incidents of organized crime are dealt with under the general conspiracy law and relevant special Acts.
- The existing law is inadequate as it targets individuals and not the criminal groups or criminal enterprises.
- Conspiracies are hatched in darkness and proving them in a court of law is a herculean task.
- Leaders are insulated from perpetrators. It keeps the network of organized crime functioning.
- Lack of witness protection program:
- Witness Protection Program is intended for crucial witnesses whose prospective testimony puts them in immediate danger. It protects, relocates and gives them new identity.
- Given the threat of life many witnesses turn hostile, weaken the case against the criminals.
- Lack of resources and training: While criminals are equipped with modern weapons, vehicles, sophisticated means of communication, police lack on those. With growing “Darknet” police need training on cyber-policing.
- Lack of inter-agency and international coordination:
- In the fields of crime prevention and criminal justice cooperation, partnerships are developed through formal and informal mechanisms.
- This cooperation increases the capacity to provide an effective technical assistance, produce quality tools and publications and facilitate the successful implementation of projects and programmes.
- In India, Law and Order is a State list subject. Inter-agency coordination is required between Centre and State like:
- (a) Law enforcement agencies, (e.g. Interpol, National Investigation Agency and State Police)
- (b) Intelligence agencies (e.g. RAW, Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, CID)
- (c) Crime transcends state and national boundaries leading to complexities in jurisdiction. It gives criminals a time window to sneak through using alternate identities.
- Nexus between criminals, businessmen and politicians strengthens the network. With growing role of money and muscle power in competitive electoral politics, criminals turn into businessmen and politicians.
Terrorism and Organized Crime: A Comparison
The crimes committed by these two groups don’t differ in substance, they differ in motive.
|1. Terrorists are essentially political groups||They conduct profit-driven criminal activities|
|2. Even if they are inspired by religious fundamentalism, their behaviour is designed to bring about political change.||Aims to form a parallel government (parallel economy) co-existing with the existing one|
|3. Terrorist groups usually seek media attention||Organized groups seek to be aloof from media attention.|
Linkages between Terrorism and Organized Crime
To finance their goals, terrorist organizations involve in other crimes. This results in a symbiotic relationship.
- Terrorists engage in organized crime to support themselves financially . Drugs trafficking, money laundering, Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN), Supari killing and extortion are the main organized crimes by which terrorists generate money.
- Organized crime groups and terrorists often operate on the same network structures. Terrorists thrive under the cloak of transnational organized crime groups.
- Both organized crime groups and terrorist groups operate in areas with little governmental controls, weak enforcement of laws and open borders. Both often use similar means of modern technology to communicate.
- These groups may provide smuggled arms and explosives to terrorist groups in exchange for drugs or diamonds, etc. Terrorist groups make use of smuggling networks established by organized crime to move operatives around the world.
- Criminal groups also provide money laundering services. Terrorist groups controlling the terrain tax drug traffickers in return for protection.
- Organized crime and terrorism thrive on ineffective governance, poor checks and balances. They have developed a symbiotic relationship.
- But neither are all terrorist acts organized crime, nor are all organized criminal acts terrorism; in most developed countries, organized crime thrives with little or no terrorist activities, and in most developing countries, terrorism exists along with varying levels of organized criminal activity.
Linkages between Terrorism and Drug Trafficking
Ample evidences to suggest that terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and Taliban are financed through proceeds of drug trafficking and fake currency trafficking.
- According to the UNODC’s World Drug Report 2017, non-State armed groups raised about $150 million in 2016 from the Afghan illicit opiate trade in the form of taxes on the cultivation of opium poppy and trafficking in opiates.
- Indeed drug trafficking has provided funding for insurgency and those who use terrorist violence in various regions throughout the world, including in transit regions. In some cases, drugs have even been the currency used in the commission of terrorist attacks, as was the case in the Madrid bombings.
- Effective tools do, however, exist which can chip away at and eventually contribute to breaking the links. For example, at the international level there is a common legal framework consisting of 16 universal anti-terrorist instruments, as well as relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Included in the latter is a series of UN resolutions imposing sanctions – such as the freezing of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo, on members of the Taliban, Al-Qaida and their associates.
- Illicit drug traders and terrorists are not some mysterious entity. Rather they are usually groups and networks that operate in ways that can be understood, identified, tracked and ultimately disrupted. We need to integrate our work to build up more effective and efficient networks so that we may defeat these illegitimate networks that perpetuate so much destruction throughout the world.
Linkages between Terrorism and Money Laundering
Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are financial crimes with economic effects. They can threaten the stability of a country’s financial sector or its external stability more generally.
- The most basic difference between terrorist financing and money laundering involves the origin of the funds. Terrorist financing uses funds for an illegal political purpose, but the money is not necessarily derived from illicit proceeds. On the other hand, money laundering always involves the proceeds of illegal activity. Money Laundering is a process by which the illicit source of assets obtained or generated by criminal activity is concealed to obscure the link between the funds and the original criminal activity, Terrorist Financing provides funds for terrorist activity.
- It may involve funds raised from legitimate sources, such as
- (a) personal donations and
- (b) profits from businesses and charitable organizations, as well as from
- (c) Criminal sources, such as the drug trade, the smuggling of weapons and other goods, fraud, kidnapping and extortion.
- While these two phenomena differ in many ways , they often exploit the same vulnerabilities in financial systems that allow for an inappropriate level of anonymity and non-transparency in the execution of financial transactions.
- Terrorists use techniques like those of money launderers to evade authorities’ attention and to protect the identity of their sponsors and of the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds.
- However, financial transactions associated with terrorist financing tend to be in smaller amounts than is the case with money laundering, and when terrorists raise funds from legitimate sources, the detection and tracking of these funds becomes more difficult.
- To move their funds, terrorists use
- (a) the formal banking system,
- (b) informal value-transfer systems,
- (c) Hawalas and Hundis and,
- (d) the oldest method of asset-transfer, the physical transportation of cash, gold and other valuables through smuggling routes
- Effective anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regimes are essential to protect the integrity of markets and of the global financial framework as they help mitigate the factors that facilitate financial abuse. Action to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing thus responds not only to a moral imperative, but also to an economic need
- Stringent laws to deal with organized crime like: Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA) is a law enacted by Maharashtra state in India in 1999 to combat organized crime and terrorism.
- Strong and capable law enforcement agencies:
- (a) ATS: Anti Terror Squad was formed in 2004, by Maharashtra to specially deal with terrorism.
- (b) NSG: National Security Guard to be strengthened in wake of terrorism
- (c) NIA: A pan India investigating agency, especially for terrorist activities was formed after the 26 November, 2008 Mumbai attacks.
- (d) NATGRID: It has been mooted after the 2008 attack on Mumbai. Based on the US model of a centralized database. It integrates 21 important data sources like banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges, airlines, railways.
- (e) India joined Financial Action Task Force (FATF) started by G7 countries in 1989 to tackle Money Laundering.
- (f) There is a proposal of setting an umbrella organization for counter terrorism tactics. National Counter Terrorism Centre is the proposed body on the line of US NCTC.
- Other laws that need research and amendment: There are several other central statutes which deal with specific facets of organized crime. Some of them are:
- (a) The Customs Act, 1962
- (b) The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
- (c) The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
- (d) The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973
- (e) The Public Gambling Act, 1867 etc.
- Besides, State Governments have also legislated on subjects like excise, Prohibition and gambling etc.
- Use of IT and other advance technologies: “organized hacking” is also emerging as a favorite activity among the terrorists as an easy source of financing.
- Strong Political Will: Political graft is the usage of notorious offenders by politicians so that they can come into power or get some benefit for their political party such as getting victory in polls etc . These offenders use both legitimate and illegitimate methods (such as violence and threats) to get their master win. Examples range from the common method such as ‘buying votes’ by paying the voter to advanced methods of setting up inquiry commission against a big politician to save him than to really inquire him.
- International cooperation and coordination: Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), established by USA in the aftermath of 9/11 is an example of an anti-terrorist mechanism in a federal set up. The Joint Terrorism Task Forces located in various cities across the USA include representatives from the Federal, State and Municipal enforcement agencies and perform several important roles, including the clearing of all terrorism-related information. Instead of the proposed NCTC, such a mechanism can address the apprehensions of states more effectively.