Srinagar, August 10: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) with an aim to curb terror funding and subversive activities in the valley on Thursday raided multiple locations in Jammu and Kashmir's capital Srinagar. Notably, the ED conducted searches at multiple locations of Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad capital in connection with an alleged terror funding and hawala case involving over Rs. 20 crores.
ED officials said three premises connected to Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad in Srinagar is being searched after getting a specific input of his role in terror funding and hawala case involving over Rs. 20 crores. The officials of ED further said that Sheikh's house in Ahmad Nagar and a firm identified as Al Khuddam Tours and Travels in Srinagar town are being searched. The central agency has roped in the state police for conducting the searches, they added.
The Central agency is investigating the under sections of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and it pertains to an alleged export outstanding of the firm to the tune of over Rs. 20 crore for a period of 2014-15 and some other block periods. The ED also suspects the case to be of terror funding through hawala dealing and other illegal transactions.
The raid of ED comes two days after NIA questioned hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's sons, Naeem Zafar Geelani and Naseem at its headquarters in New Delhi as a part of its probe into a money trail to expose how Pakistan sent cash to separatists for stoking unrest in the Kashmir Valley.
The action of NIA comes after the probe agency raided the house and office of Devinder Singh Behl in money laundering case and arrested him from his residence. Devinder Singh Behl is a businessman and close aide of Syed Ali Shah Geelani allegedly involved in the money laundering case and funded anti-national elements to create unrest in Kashmir.
On the other side, the arrest of Devinder Singh Behl Comes after the central agency arrested seven Kashmiri separatist leaders including Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and moderate Hurriyat chairman’s close aide Shahid-ul-Islam in connection with its probe into the funding of terror and subversive activities in Kashmir. All are in the remand of NIA for custodial interrogation in the case. According to the sources, more arrest is possible in the terror funding and money laundering case.
The arrest comes a month after NIA raided eight and fourteen locations of Delhi, Haryana and Kashmir respectively in connection with the terror funding case. The case came into the limelight after a sting operation surfaced in which he purportedly confessed by Nayeem Khan to receiving funds from Pakistan to create unrest in the Kashmir Valley. After this, Geelani suspended Khan from the basic membership of Hurriyat conference in May.
However, Hafeez Saeed who is Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ud Dawa, the front of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been named in the FIR as an accused, in addition to organizations such as the Hurriyat Conference, Hizbul Mujaheedin and Dukhtaran-e-Milat. The NIA in the same context had also searched the premises of others like Shahid-ul-Islam, an aide of Farooq's, who heads the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference. The NIA had recovered some account books, Rs 2 crore in cash and letterheads of banned terror groups, including the LeT and the Hizbul Mujahideen, during its searches.
In 2002, the Income Tax department had raided the establishments of some separatist leaders, including Geelani, and seized cash and documents. Interestingly, this the first time since the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the early 1990s, NIA had carried out raids in connection with the funding of separatists.