SRINAGAR: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted raids and searches at 12 locations in Valley including Srinagar and volatile south Kashmir’s Pulwama in connection with the ongoing probe into militancy and separatists funding in Jammu and Kashmir.
An NIA spokesman said as a follow up action in probe into militancy funding, the NIA teams conducted raids and searches at 12 locations spread in four districts of Valley including Srinagar, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara and volatile Pulwama in south Kashmir.
Officials said the raids were conducted on the residence of Advocate Mohammad Shafi Reshi, who is a close relative of PDP MLC Yasir Reshi, and houses of close relatives of leading businessman Zahoor Ahmad Watali.
Watali is under the radar of the NIA and his residence, offices and property linked to him were raided and searched in May and June this year. He has also been questioned by the NIA sleuths.
Sources said the raids were also conducted at the residences of some government officials.
The NIA teams were assisted by J&K police and paramilitary CRPF men during the raids and searches of the premises.
The NIA spokesman said a lot of incriminating material, suspect financial records and property-related documents and electronic devices including mobile phones, pen drives and hard drives have been seized during the searches at 12 locations in Valley today.
He said some of the documents seized relate to receipt of money from suspect foreign sources and distribution of money so received to certain persons in Kashmir.
The suspects were questioned about the incriminating recoveries made from their possession, the spokesman said.
The NIA is probing militancy and separatists funding in the Valley and has already arrested eight people including seven separatist leaders.
The seven separatist leaders Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh (Geelani’s son in law), Ayaz Akbar, Peer Safiullah, Mehraj-ud-Din Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam (Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s close aide and media advisor), Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, former JKLF commander, were arrested on July 24.
On July 30, the NIA arrested a Sikh lawyer Devender Singh Behl from Jammu. He was associated with Hurriyat led by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.
The NIA is also questioning Naeem Geelani and Naseem Geelani, sons of Syed Ali Geelani. Both have been questioned in Srinagar and national capital.
The NIA had registered a case on May 30 against separatist leaders for acting in connivance with militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other groups and woman separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means including hawala for funding separatist and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The separatist leaders were accused of fomenting trouble in the Valley by inciting youth to pelt stones on security forces, burn schools, damage public property and waging war against India.
The NIA had questioned the separatist leaders and businessmen in Valley and conducted raids in Kashmir, New Delhi and Haryana in May and June this year to unearth separatist funding from Pakistan, India’s most wanted and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and militant groups for carrying subversive activities in the State.
The NIA raids and arrests of separatist leaders took place after three separatists Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan and Gazi Javed Baba had in an expose by India Today TV purportedly acknowledged of receiving money from Pakistan government, Hafiz Saeed and militant groups for fomenting unrest in Valley and creating chaos by burning schools, government institutions, panchayat ghars and police stations.