NIA arrests 7 Hurriyat leaders in funding case

NIA

Official sources said after all the six leaders reached Humhama, they were informed that they have been arrested.

The National Investigation Agency on Monday arrested seven Hurriyat leaders including son-in-law of Syed Ali Geelani in connection with its probe into the case of alleged funding for “militancy and subversive activities” in Kashmir. This is for the first time since the eruption of militancy in Kashmir in early nineties that a central probe agency has carried out raids and formal arrests in connection with funding of Hurriyat leaders.

Soon after making the arrests, the NIA issued a formal statement that said seven separatist leaders including Altaf Ahmad Shah Funtoosh Geelani (son-in-law of Syed Ali Geelani), Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate have been arrested in connection with the NIA case filed vide No. RC-10/2017/NIA/DLI (J&K Terror Funding Case) under sections 120B, 121, 121 A of IPC and sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39, 40 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The statement said Karate was taken into custody from New Delhi while other accused were arrested from Srinagar. “They are being brought to New Delhi. They will be produced before the special judge, NIA, Patiala House, New Delhi tomorrow (Tuesday),”the statement read.

The statement read that the NIA had registered the instant case on 30th May 2017 against the “separatist and secessionist leaders including members/cadres of Hurriyat Conference who have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed militant organizations Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and other militant organisations/associations and gangs for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including ‘hawala’, for funding separatist and militancy activities in Jammu and Kashmir and for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley by way of pelting stones on the security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.”

“In pursuance of this FIR, the National Investigation Agency had conducted widespread searches on the suspected persons in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana and incriminating documents, electronic devices, cash and other valuables worth crores were unearthed during those searches,” the statement read.

Official sources said the investigation agency had issued summons twice to these leaders but they were unable to respond as they were under “preventive custody.” The NIA had issued summons to Akbar, the spokesperson for Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, senior Hurriyat (G) leader, Altaf Fantosh and Peer Saifullah, another close aide of Geelani, asking them to appear before the NIA at its Humhama office in Budgam in Monday.

Official sources said after all the six leaders reached Humhama, they were informed that they have been arrested.

“Mobile phones and other things which the leaders were carrying were handed over to their families after proper receipts. The family members also handed over extra clothing to all six detained in Srinagar,” they said.

Pertinently, the NIA investigation started after Nayeem Khan during a purported TV sting operation allegedly confessed to receiving money from Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba to “create chaos” in Kashmir. While Khan claimed that the sting was fake and doctored, he was suspended from the Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani. After the video surfaced, the NIA registered a preliminary probe against Khan, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Gazi Javed Baba and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (R) chairman Farooq Ahmed Dar.

After registering case on 30th May, the NIA carried out massive raids and said they had recovered account books, Rs 2 crore in cash and letterheads of some banned militant outfits, including LeT and HM.

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