On terror funding trail, NIA conducts raids on separatists

Cash, letterheads of banned terrorist organisations seized during searches.

Updated - December 03, 2021 05:10 pm IST

Published - June 03, 2017 09:33 am IST - Srinagar/New Delhi

NIA officials conducting a search at the Khari Baoli wholesale market in New Delhi on Saturday.

NIA officials conducting a search at the Khari Baoli wholesale market in New Delhi on Saturday.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday conducted searches at 26 locations in Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi in a case relating to funding of terrorist activities by Pakistan-based terror outfits.

In the raids, which started around 6 a.m, at least four NIA teams, along with police and CRPF personnel, fanned out across Srinagar and raided 14 premises of separatists and businessmen. Seven senior separatist leaders were questioned.

An NIA spokesperson said the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) was converted to an FIR on Saturday. “Had there been no FIR, the searches would not have been possible,” he said. “During the raids, NIA recovered ₹1.15 crore in cash, property-related documents, letterheads of banned terrorist organisations — Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen — pen drives, laptops and incriminating documents. Fresh locations revealed during the questioning of inmates will also be searched,” the spokesperson said.

The bank accounts and lockers revealed during the course of investigation have been ordered to be frozen, the spokesperson said. The concerned persons have been summoned for questioning and further investigation will continue, it said

"The subject matter of investigation is to probe the entire chain of players behind financing of terrorist activities including pelting of stones on security forces, burning of schools, damaging government establishments, etc. Cash amount worth a few crores, gold jewellery, coins worth about ₹40 lakh, large number of property related documents have been seized from the financiers, hawala operators, office bearers of separatist groups," NIA said in a statement.

The NIA team sealed off the Qamarwari residence of Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah. Sources said he was questioned about his bank and property details. Electronic gadgets were also screened.

Another Geelani confidante Mehraj Kalwal, district president of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, was also questioned at his Srinagar residence.

Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s spokesman Aftab Ahmad alias Shahid-ul-Islam was detained for several hours at his Sanat Nagar residence. According to sources, money was recovered during searches at the residence.

Another leader of Mirwaiz’ Hurriyat faction, Zafar Akbar Bhat, was also faced questions from an NIA team.

Residences of three other separatist leaders — Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Javaid Gazi Baba and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate — were also raided.

These separatists figured in a sting operation carried by a TV channel recently, in which they admitted to having received funds from Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to continue unrest in the Kashmir valley.

The NIA also carried out simultaneous raids on residences of four businessmen, including Zahoor Watali, brother of former inspector general of police Ali Muhammad Watali.

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