New Delhi: An aide of Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and a Kashmiri businessman have been questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over a case of “terror funding” received from Pakistan and other countries to Kashmiri separatist groups.
The NIA has been questioning Shahid-ul-Islam, a close aide of the Mirwaiz, and businessman Zahoor Watali for the last three days about the assets possessed by them, official sources said here.
The questioning of the two by officers of the central probe agency, which has registered a case against separatists and terror organisations operating in the Valley, was done separately, sources said.
The businessman has been asked about his association with separatist leaders, especially with Syed Ali Geelani, the sources said.
The NIA may also seek a production warrant from a special court against close aides of Geelani, including his son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, and his spokesman Ayaz Akbar, they said.
Shah was questioned by the NIA early last month after which he sought time from the probe agency on account of Ramzan and Eid festivities, the sources said.
Shah has been asked by the NIA about his moveable and other properties, including houses in the Valley as well as in Jammu, and the source for their funding. The questioning is also related to alleged funds received by the Geelani-led Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, the sources said.
Shah’s Srinagar house was raided by NIA sleuths, who also searched the premises of others like Shahid-ul-Islam and Zahoor Watali.
The NIA investigation seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, including those who pelted stones at security forces, burnt down schools, and damaged government establishments.
This is for the first time since the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the early 1990s that a central probe agency has carried out raids in connection with funding of separatists.
In 2002, the Income Tax department had conducted searches against some separatist leaders including Geelani and seized cash and documents. However, no criminal case was registered then.