Salahudin’s family pleads innocence
Srinagar: A day after his arrest, the special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday remanded Shahid Yousuf to seven days’ police custody. He will spend the remand period under the custody of the anti-terror body.
Shahid is the third of the five sons of United Jihad Council supreme commander and Hizbul Mujahideen chief, Syed Salahuddin.
“Shahid was brought to the NIA (special) court at Patiala House complex at 12:10 p.m. today,” sources said. “A posse of Delhi police and NIA sleuths accompanied Shahid who presented him before judge Poonam A Bamba who, during in-camera proceedings, remanded him to NIA custody for seven days.”
The NIA after questioning Shahid four times in Srinagar summoned him to Delhi on October 24 where he was arrested at the NIA headquarters.
An agriculture officer in the government, Shahid has been accused of receiving money from abroad for alleged “terror” activities. However, Shahid’s family has out rightly rejected the allegations.
According to the NIA statement submitted to court, the investigating body has sought the custody on the grounds that it needs to interrogate Shahid to “unearth a criminal conspiracy of raising funds by Hizbul Mujahideen and Shahid’s role in it”.
“Shahid was allegedly collecting funds from Aijaz Bhat, a Srinagar resident now based in Saudi Arabia and a Hizbul Mujahideen militant, on the direction of his father Salahuddin, who is on the run,” the NIA has said.
During his Srinagar questioning, the agency had seized Shahid’s mobile phone, which has been sent to forensic lab for analysis. Its report is awaited.
Shahid was summoned in the case RC-06/2011/NLA/DLI, which dates back to 2011, in which two charge-sheets against six persons were filed by the NIA.
Four of them – Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, said to be a close aide of Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Geelani, Mohammed Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmad Dagga – are currently in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The NIA has said that two of the accused, Mohammad Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Bhat, are on the run and have been declared proclaimed offenders.
Soon after court remanded Shahid to police custody, Salahuddin’s family in Kashmir rejected the allegations.
“We want to state that this is the age old tactic by the Delhi government to harass the family and to defame our father. This is an attempt to pressurize our father into submission by Delhi. We are peace loving people and want the issue to be settled through meaningful dialogue,” a statement issued by the family said.
The UJC commander has five sons and two daughters who live in different places on this part side of Line of Control. All of them are married.
The family statement also said that they have “never been involved in any terror funding activities in the state”.
Our record during past 28 years is crystal clear and can be verified by the police and CID. Our brother, Shahid Yousuf, is a peaceful citizen, and NIA has incriminated him in absolutely fake charges of terror funding to pressurise our father. Our right to live peacefully is being snatched by state and central governments.”
Meanwhile, a family member of senior resistance leader, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, late Tuesday evening said that the NIA’s special court did not give its decision with regard to bail sought by Khan.
“Our lawyer was waiting till late hours but Khan’s case of bail was not taken up on Tuesday,” the family member said. Khan had sought bail on health grounds after he contracted dengue in jail. He is one of the ten incarcerated persons since NIA started its investigations into alleged “terror” funding in July this year. He is chief of National Front, a constituent of Hurriyat Conference (G).
Businessman Zahoor Ahmad Watali too had sought bail in the case on similar reasons. The court heard the arguments of both the sides on October 17 but reserved its judgement till October 24.