Terror funding probe: NIA continues raids in J&K

Terror funding probe: NIA continues raids in J&K

Terror funding probe: NIA continues raids in J&K
The NIA, probing alleged terror-funding to separatist leaders in Kashmir, continued raids on the residences of Hurriyat leaders for second consecutive day on Sunday during which it seized incriminating documents and foreign currency.

Sources said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) teams conducted raids at four places in Kashmir and one in Jammu on Sunday. "The NIA searched the offices of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, associated with Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, the residences of Javed Ahmed Baba alias Gazi Baba, Peer Saifullah and Ayaz Akbar, all leaders of hardline Hurriyat," they said and added residence of a businessman, identified as Farooq Bagoo, was also raided.

The premier central probe agency found a few thousand Pakistani rupees and currencies of UAE and Saudi Arabia, sources said. "Since Saturday cash worth a few crore rupees, gold jewellery/coins worth about Rs 40 lakh, property related documents, letterheads of LeT and Hizbul, pen drives, laptops, mobile phones and other incriminating documents, including phone diaries, katchcha receipts and vouchers have been seized from the financiers, hawala operators and office bearers of separatist groups during the searches at nearly 30 locations."

A top NIA official told Deccan Herald that the bank accounts and lockers revealed during the course of investigation have been ordered to be frozen and the concerned persons have been summoned for questioning. "We are probing the entire terror network and the players behind financing it. Also, people who incite violence and stone pelting and burned down schools during the unrest are on our radar," he revealed.

The raids were carried out after NIA launched Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into alleged hawala funding to separatist leaders to fuel protests and violence in Kashmir. The PE was launched following a ‘sting operation’ by a New-Delhi based news channel after which three separatists leaders Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed and Gazi Baba who were allegedly receiving funds from 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, were grilled by the NIA in Srinagar and Delhi for several days.

This is not the first time that such raids have been carried out in the Valley. In December 2002, Jammu and Kashmir police had arrested 16 persons on charges of channelling hawala funds to militant organisations through the cover of their legitimate businesses. Incidentally, the residence of current J&K education minister Altaf Bukhari's father was also raided that time.

However, the case was closed subsequently for lack of evidence. Meanwhile, Geelani in a statement on Sunday alleged that Indian authorities, its agencies and particularly NIA were harassing Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leadership and its activists.

Condemning the NIA raids, he said, "Unfortunate aspect of this is that NIA sleuths during raids harass inmates and even ransack properties. It is sheer vengeance and intimidation and all these coercive tactics won’t deter us from advocating just cause."