Terror funding row : NIA tries to join more loose ends

The lull in Kashmir was once again broken as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Wednesday raided 12 different places in various areas of the Valley.

The NIA conducted raids in Srinagar, Baramulla and Handwara towns of the Valley. According to the sources, the fresh raids were conducted based on the information given by the Hurriyat leaders who were arrested during the NIA raids on July 24.

Those whose premises and relatives houses were raided raided includ a Srinagar based prominent businessman Zahoor Ahmad Watali, advocate Muhmmad Shafi Reshi, Peerzada Gulam Nabi and others. Reports said that the family and relatives of the Watali were also raided by the investigating agency.

The NIA raided the house of Peerzada Gulam Nabi son of Peerzada Sanaullah in Tarahama village of the north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Peerzada, who works in the state department of Industries, also runs a plywood making factory at Parimpora in Srinagar.

Sources said that NIA also raided the relatives of Peerzada Gulam Nabi in Mazhama village of Budgam on Srinagar-Gulmarg highway. The NIA conducted the raids on the residence of Advocate Abdul Rahim Wani in Mazhama village. Wani is the relative of Peerzada. The agency also raided the house of Gulam Muhammad Bhat, who works as an accountant of Peerzada Gulam Nabi in the same village.

Meanwhile, the raids on the relatives of the Watalis concluded at 4:30 in the evening. However, it was not immediately clear if anything incriminating has been seized from the houses of those raided.

The NIA also conducted the raid on a house of a student at Machipora village in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The student according to sources is pursuing his medical course (MBBS) in Pakistan. The raids were also conducted at two residential houses at Bunpora Mohalla in Bakhiaker area of Handwara.

Meanwhile, the NIA has earlier conducted raids in the Valley on prominent businessmen in connection with the alleged terror funding. The investigating agency had raided Tariq Ahmed Khan, the former president of the LoC Traders’ Association, Farooq Baggu and Kama alias Bittu of Jammu.

Interestingly, Watali has been associated with the LoC trade and has worked as the president of LoC Traders’ Association in the past. Earlier, NIA had recommended the suspension of trade along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Meanwhile, according to the reports, the agency had raided the house of Watali in Gurgaon on June 4. Sources said that Watali’s properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Dubai are also under the scanner.

Pertinently, seven Hurriyat leaders were earlier detained by the investigating agency, probing funds coming from Pakistan and other Gulf countries.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Fantoosh along with top leaders of the Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference Peer Saifullah, Meraj-ud-din Kalwal and Ayaz Akbar Banday were formally arrested by NIA on July 24.

The separatist leaders are currently in a jail in Delhi along with other leaders Aftab Hilal Shah alias Shahidul Islam, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate and Geelani’s former confidante Nayeem Khan.

Meanwhile, another top separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah has been detained separately in connection with a money-laundering case previously registered by Enforcement Directorate and has been remanded to judicial custody in New Delhi.

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