ED slaps FEMA notice on Kashmiri businessman

ED slaps FEMA notice on Kashmiri businessman

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has slapped a FEMA show-cause notice to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali, who was arrested by the NIA in connection with a terror funding case, for suspected illegal forex violations of Rs 62.93 lakh.

According to the ED, the show-cause notice to Watali was on the basis of him receiving foreign currency to the tune of Rs 62.93 lakh in violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)'.

“He was actively working as a conduit for foreign funds of a J&K-based terrorist organisation,” the agency said on Twitter.

A senior ED official said Watali reportedly maintained non-resident external (NRE) and non-resident ordinary (NRO) accounts by misdeclaring himself as an NRI. He later purportedly transmitted foreign remittances of Rs 62,93,711 during 2002-2003 to 2008-2009 in these accounts from overseas destinations.

“Further, he could not provide satisfactory reasoning for the source of funds collected overseas and subsequent remittances to India,” he said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested Watali from Delhi in August 2017, after searches on separatist leaders and others in the Kashmir valley on charges of terror-funding.

The NIA had filed a charge sheet in this case in January this year. The separatist leaders belonging to the Hurriyat Conference have “established a network of cadre” to incite youth to “attack all symbols of Indian sovereignty, especially Indian security forces,” it said.

The accused were receiving funds from Pakistani agencies through hawala conduits like Watali for these activities.

He was an “active channel to receive foreign contributions from Pakistani establishment and terror organisations for further remittances to Hurriyat leaders and secessionists in Jammu and Kashmir to wage a war against the government.”

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