SRINAGARNEW DELHI: In a pre-dawn swoop, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) today raided 23 locations in Kashmir, Haryana and the national capital in connection with a case of alleged funding received by separatist groups for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley.
After registering an FIR earlier this week, various NIA teams, which had been camping in the Valley for few days, moved under heavy escort from their camp office located at Humhama, on the outskirts of the Srinagar city. Among those raided by the NIA were Altaf Fantoosh, the son-in-law of hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, businessman Zahoor Watali, Shahid-ul-Islam, leader of Awami Action Committee led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, and some second rung separatist leaders belonging to both factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF.
The agency seized nearly Rs 1.5 crore from various locations in the Kashmir Valley, besides documents which were being scrutinised, officials said. This is for the first time since militancy raised its ugly head in early 1990s that a central probe agency has carried out raids in connection with terror funding to separatists which has been used for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley.
Earlier in 2002, Income Tax department had carried out searches against separatist leaders, including Geelani, and seized cash and other documents.
However, no criminal case had been registered then. While no separatist leader from the Valley has been named in the FIR registered by the NIA, organisations like the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Milat and Lashker-e- Taiba besides Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ul Dawah Hafeez Saeed have been mentioned. The NIA, which had earlier registered a Preliminary Enquiry, also raided around eight hawala dealers and traders in the national, besides two in Sonepat, Haryana.
The raids were carried out following the questioning of three separatist leaders -- Nayeem Khan, who was seen on television during a sting operation purportedly confessing to receiving money from Pakistan-based terror groups, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate' and Gazi Javed Baba of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, in the national capital last month.
The separatists were allegedly receiving funds from the chief of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), Hafiz Saeed, to carry out subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley, including pelting stones at security forces, damaging public property and burning schools and other government establishments.