The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Saturday raided more than 25 locations in Kashmir, Haryana and the New Delhi over the case of alleged funding received by resistance groups from Pakistan to fuel the unrest in Kashmir.
After registering an FIR earlier this week, various NIA teams, which had been camping in the Valley for few days, moved under heavy escort from their camp office located at Humhama, on the outskirts of the Srinagar city.
Among those whose houses were raided by the NIA were Altaf Fantoosh, the son-in-law of Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, businessman , Zahoor Watali, Shahid-ul-Islam, leader of Awami Action Committee led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, and some second rung resistance leaders belonging to both factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF.
The agency seized nearly Rs 1.5 crore from various locations in the Kashmir Valley, besides documents which were being scrutinized, officials said. This is for the first time since militancy erupted in 1990s that a central probe agency has carried out raids in connection with funding to the separatists.
Earlier in 2002, Income Tax department had carried out searches at the residence of separatist leaders, including Geelani, and seized cash and other documents. However, no criminal case had been registered then.
While no separatist leader from the Valley has been named in the FIR registered by the NIA, organizations like the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Milat and Lashker-e- Taiba besides Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ul Dawah Hafeez Saeed have been mentioned.
The NIA, which had earlier registered a Preliminary Enquiry, also raided around eight hawala dealers and traders in Delhi, besides two in Sonepat, Haryana. The NIA carried out searches at least at 14 places in Kashmir and eight places in Delhi in connection with militant funding received from Pakistan for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley.
The NIA, which had earlier registered a preliminary enquiry, and converted it into a regular case (RC) last evening, began searches in the wee hours at the residences of second-rung separatist leaders in the Valley.
Around eight hawala dealers and traders in the national capital were also raided, official sources said. Among those raided were close aides and kins of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others in the Hurriyat Conference. Two places in Sonepat were also being searched by the NIA teams in this connection.
The raids follow questioning of three separatist leaders Nayeem Khan, who was seen on television during a sting operation purportedly confessing to receiving money from Pakistan-based militant groups, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’ and Gazi Javed Baba of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, in the national capital last month.
The separatists were allegedly receiving funds from the chief of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), Hafiz Saeed, to carry out subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley, including pelting stones at security forces, damaging public property and burning schools and other government establishments.
Meanwhile the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued fresh summons to Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah in connection with an over a decade-old case of money laundering registered against him. Officials said the agency has asked Shah to depose before the investigating officer (IO) of the case on June 6. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued a similar summons to Shah on May 25 but he had failed to keep the date.
Fresh summons have now been issued to Shah, they said. The central probe agency has issued several summons to Shah over the last few years in pursuance of the August 2005 case wherein the Delhi Police’s Special cell had arrested Mohammed Aslam Wani (35), an alleged hawala dealer, who had claimed that he had passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah. The ED had registered a criminal case under the prevention of money laundering act (PMLA) against Shah and Wani.
Wani was arrested allegedly with Rs 63 lakh, received through ‘hawala’ channels from the Middle East, and a large cache of ammunition on August 26, 2005.
During questioning, he had allegedly told the police that Rs 50 lakh was to be delivered to Shah and Rs 10 lakh to Jaish-e- Mohammad area commander in Srinagar, Abu Baqar, and the rest was his commission.
Wani, who hails from Srinagar, had also claimed that he had delivered around Rs 2.25 crore to Shah and his kin in multiple installments over the past year.