SRINAGAR: To probe the militant and separatist funding in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted fresh raids on residences of separatist leaders and businessmen in Srinagar and Jammu and recovered foreign currency notes.
“NIA conducted raids at four places in Kashmir connected to separatists today,” NIA spokesman said.
He said a raid was also conducted in Jammu, winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, as part of efforts to detect militant funding.
Sources said NIA conducted raids on the residence of Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference led by hardline separatist leader Syed Alli Geelani, in Srinagar.
They said the NIA team also conducted raids on another of Geelani’s close aides Peer Saifullah and a businessman in Srinagar.
In Jammu, sources said, the NIA team raided office and residence of a businessman involved in cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade.
The NIA spokesman said during the searches at the five locations in the State today, foreign currency was recovered.
“Few thousand Pakistani currency notes and currency notes of UAE and Saudi Arabia were found and seized. Besides, incriminating material was also seized,” he said.
The concerned persons, he said, were being questioned about the same.
The NIA teams had yesterday in a major operation conducted raids on separatist leaders, their associates and businessmen at 14 different places in Valley. Besides, the raids were also conducted at some places in Haryana and Delhi at residences to probe the militancy funding.
Among those whose residences were raided yesterday included separatist leaders Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bita Karatey and Gazi Baba, Geelani’s son in law and businessman Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantosh, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s media advisor Shahid-ul-Islam, Zafar Akbar Bhat, Geelani’s party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Mehraj Kalwal and leading businessmen Zahoor Ahmad Watali.
The NIA spokesman said the agency is probing the entire chain of players behind financing of militant activities including pelting of stones on security forces, burning of schools, damaging government establishments, etc.
He said cash of few crores, gold jewellery/coins worth Rs 40 lakh, large number of property documents, letterheads of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, pen-drives, laptops, mobile phones and other incriminating documents, including phone diaries, katchcha receipts, vouchers, etc were seized during the raids at 26 locations in Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana yesterday.
The bank accounts and lockers revealed during the course of investigation have been ordered to be frozen, the spokesman said adding the concerned persons have been summoned for questioning and further investigation is going on.
The raids took place after questioning of three separatist leaders Nayeem, Dar and Baba in New Delhi and Srinagar following their acknowledgment during sting operation of a TV channel 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.
After their revelation, NIA had on May 19 registered a preliminary inquiry into funding of Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Nayeem, Dar, Baba and others in J&K by Hafiz Saeed and other Pakistan based militant groups and agencies to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir and damage public property, stone pelting on the security forces, burning of schools and other government establishments.
The preliminary inquiry has now been converted into an FIR against Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and other Pakistan-based militant groups.
“The FIR names Hafiz Syed, woman separatist outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat and militant outfits Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Toiba,” official sources said adding it does not name any separatist leaders.
Meanwhile, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik will be meeting tomorrow at Geelani’s Hyderpora residence to discuss the NIA raids and chalk future strategy.
In a joint statement, the three leaders said policy of “witch hunt and terrorization” launched by the India state against the separatist leadership and the business community of valley is “despicable and deplorable”.
“Such dirty ploys will neither demoralize the Kashmiri people from their faith in their political struggle and their leadership nor will it help shift focus from the actual issue on the ground and the unprecedented atrocities committed against the Kashmiri people,” they said.