Srinagar: After grilling seven Hurriyat Conference leaders in New Delhi, a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) returned to Srinagar and raided at least 12 new locations in Kashmir on Wednesday.
The raids were conducted in Srinagar, Kupwara and Pulwama districts. They began in the morning. Sources said that a team of NIA sleuths raided the Barzulla residence of Muhammad Shafi Reshi, a close aide of Syed Ali Geelani.
“The searches and investigation continued for more than six hours,” sources said.
Inspector General of Police Alok Mittal, the NIA spokesperson, said in a statement, “Follow-up searches (were) conducted by the NIA in the J&K Terror Funding case. House belonging to (Mohammad) Shafi Reshi, Advocate, and premises related to Zahoor Watali were searched by the NIA teams and a lot of incriminating material, suspect financial records and property-related documents and electronic devices including mobile phones, pen drives and hard drives have been seized during the searches. Some of the documents seized relate to receipt of money from suspect foreign sources and distribution of money so received to certain persons in Kashmir valley.”
Mittal added that searches are “still continuing and the suspects are being questioned about the incriminating recoveries made from them”.
Watali’s residences in Srinagar and New Delhi were raided on June 4 as part of the investigation.
The NIA also searched Watali’s driver Mohammed Akbar’s house.
The NIA had arrested seven persons – Altaf Ahmed Shah alias Altaf Fantosh, Peer Saifullah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Raja Mehraj ud Din Kalwal, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam and Muhammad Akbar Khanday alias Ayaz Akbar and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate – on July 24 last month.
They were arrested on charges of “criminal conspiracy and waging war against India”.
A team of NIA also raided the house of a private employee Ghulam Muhammad Bhat at Tarhama Tangmarg area in Baramulla district.
Bhat, according to sources, is the employee of a plywood factory owner Pirzada Ghulam Nabi. The house of Pirzada Ghulam Nabi was also raided. Peerzada is said be one of the close friends of Watali.
In Handwara, NIA raided the house of Ghulam Mohammad Rather of Machipora who is said to be the driver of Zahoor Watali.
Sources added that two houses were searched in Trehgam area of Kupwara district as well.
When asked whether NIA has found evidence to substantiate its case against the Hurriyat Conference members, Mittal told Kashmir Reader, “The investigation is still going on.”
“No Hurriyat (Conference) is in our custody now as they have been sent to judicial custody,” he added.
However, he declined to answer whether two sons of Geelani were granted permission to stay in Kashmir for a longer time till their father gets well.
Nayeem and Nasim – Geelani’s sons – were questioned by NIA in New Delhi and sent home to get property documents and report on August 18. During their visit, the ailing Geelani was hospitalised at SKIMS, where he is undergoing medical examination. His sons had asked NIA to grant them more time to spend with their father.