J&K terror funding case: NIA nails top separatist leaders | EXCLUSIVE
With top separatists in the net in Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case of 2017, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claims to have clinching proof against four of the big leaders.
This is after the anti terror probe agency arrested Yasin Malik, leader of JKLF, Asiya Andrabi, Duktaran-e-Milat, Separatist leader Shabir Shah of JKDFP and Masrat Alam of Muslim League. All the four accused were taken into police custody for custodial interrogation few weeks ago.
The matter pertains to 2017 where a case was filed against terrorists belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the State of J&K for raising, receiving and collecting funds for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu & Kashmir and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir valley and for waging war against India.
But it is only two years after the FIR, the crackdown against separatists happened in what is being seen as a "hard approach" of Modi government.
As per NIA sources, Yasin Malik admitted that he was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat conference and formed the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), which spear headed the violent agitations in 2016 in Kashmir Valley, by issuing "Protest Calendars" leading to economic shut down for over four months.
It also caused death and injuries to civilians and security forces during the violent protests.
Yasin Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Gilani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley.
Meanwhile, female separartist leader Asiya Andrabi revealed to NIA that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by muslim women in the valley.
Asiya Andrabi was confronted with evidence regarding funding of educational expenses of her son in Malaysia from 2011 onwards through foreign remittances made by Zahoor Watali.
Zahoor is one of the main accused in terror funding case and an influential businessman of the valley.
India today has learnt that NIA has already approached the concerned authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Mohammad bin Qasim (son of Asiya Andrabi) while he was studying in the university.
During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan based agents and representatives of APHC factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J & K.
He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pehalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag. Evidence regarding many of his benami properties is being collected.
He was confronted with some of his personal staff and associates who have provided vital information regarding the sources fund raising and investment details. Investigation into these aspects is underway.
But the latest arrest of Masarat Alam is being termed as big as NIA investigators believe that he is the so called poster boy of stone pelters and violent agitations in Kashmir valley.
He has revealed that Pakistan based agents route the funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatist leaders including Syed Shah Gilani Chairman APHC (G).
Masarat Alam also revealed that there are rifts in the Hurriyat conference regarding collection and use of funds.
Investigation revealed that Zahoor Ahamad Shah Watali is one of the main hawala conduit, who used to generate and receive funds from Pakistan, ISI, UAE, and had floated various shell companies to disguise foreign remittances for further transfer to separatist leaders and stone pelters in the valley.
These funds were used to fuel unrest in the Kashmir valley and organise violent agitations and anti-India activities, which resulted in large scale violence, leading to numerous injuries and deaths of civilians and security forces.
NIA for its investigation carried out nationwide searches at various locations across the States of J&K, Delhi and Haryana.
Crucial electronic and documentary evidences were recovered which point towards the pattern of raising, collection, transfer and use of funds for terrorist and separatist activities.
Significant evidence relating to funding of these separatist elements through Pakistan and UAE based businessman, ISI, High Commission of Pakistan in Delhi has been collected and presented to the NIA Special Court in the chargesheets.
NIA concluded that mastermind and kingpin of the crime Zahoor Watali had approached the trial court for grant of bail which was rejected by the NIA Special Court.
He approached the Delhi High Court, challenging the order and High Court granted him bail on September 13, 2018.
NIA filed an SLP in the Hon'ble Supreme Court challenging his bail order and the Division bench of Hon'ble Supreme Court cancelled the bail of Zahoor Watali.
Accepting the plea of NIA, Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that the High Court has not appreciated the material which found favour with the designated court to record its opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations are prima facie true.
It also noticed that the High court ought to have taken into account the totality of the materials/ evidences which depicted the involvement of the respondent in the commission of the stated offences, besides the offence under section 17 for raising funds for terrorist activities.
NIA has charge sheeted 13 accused including Hafiz Mohammad Saeed (leader of Jammat ud Dawah), Syed Salahuddin (head of proscribed organisation Hizb-ul-Mujahideen),7 separatist leaders, 2 hawala conduits and some stone pelters.
In what is being seen as a continued policy of zero tolerance to terror, the Modi 2.0 government will come down hard on anti India activity.