Jammu/New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday searched the office and residence of a lawyer linked to Syed Ali Geelani on suspicion of his being a conduit for funds sent from Pakistan to separatist groups in Kashmir.
A spokesman for the NIA said that the office and residence of Devinder Singh Behal, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Social Peace Forum (JKSPF), a constituent of the Hurriyat grouping headed by Geelani, were searched in Jammu.
Behal is also a member of the legal cell of Hurriyat (Geelani) and a “close associate” of Geelani. Behal, the NIA said, also regularly attends funeral processions of militants.
“The NIA is investigating his role as a courier, as he is suspected to be involved in routing funds to separatist leaders from Pakistan-based handlers,” the spokesman said.
He claimed that several incriminating documents, four mobile phones, a tablet computer, and a few other articles were seized during the searches, and Behal was being questioned.
In a related development, the NIA issued summons to Naseem, the younger son of Geelani, to appear before it on Wednesday.
Geelani’s elder son Nayeem was asked to present himself at the agency’s headquarters in New Delhi on Monday. Nayeem has been admitted to a hospital in Srinagar after he complained of chest pain, members of the Hurriyat (G) said.
Nayeem, a surgeon, had returned from Pakistan in 2010 after spending 11 years and is considered Geelani’s heir apparent.
Nayeem was to be questioned in connection with the terror funding case being handled by the NIA. Hafiz Saeed, leader of Pakistan- based Jamaat-ud-Dawa and banned outfit Lashkar-e- Taiba, has been named as an accused in this case.
The NIA has also named separatist organisations like the Hurriyat factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), and the all-woman outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat in its FIR.
Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh has already been arrested by the NIA and is in NIA’s custody.
Geelani’s close aides Ayaz Akbar, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, and Peer Saifullah were arrested last week.
Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman for the Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, and Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Nayeem Khan (of Hurriyat Geelani faction) and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’ have also been arrested. All of them have been sent to 10-day NIA custody.