NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) may expand the scope of the ongoing terror funding case against the arrested Hurriyat leaders. It will investigate the linkage between narcotics trade and subversive activities in the Valley.
Agency sources said that the probe so far has revealed that a part of the funds provided to the accused could have been channelled from the illegal trade of contraband in the Valley. Initial probe has pointed out that some Hurriyat leaders and some mainstream politicians might have patronised the trade.
Narco trade is promoted in J&K by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and its terror affiliates like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen with the twin objective of partly funding the subversive activities and for Intelligence gathering.
NIA spokesperson Inspector General Alok Mittal neither confirmed nor denied the role of Hurriyat in terror funding. International terror groups such as Islamic State and Al Qaeda have also been seeking a footprint in Jammu and Kashmir after being squeezed in their respective operational theatres.
“Pakistani agencies may have been following the Chinese footsteps in using the drug trade for gathering intelligence. The latter is known to exploit drug couriers on India’s eastern flank for covert activities,” a senior Intelligence official said.
In recent years, a lot of drug consignments have been seized from the trade route through the Line of Control (LoC). The cross-LoC trade through the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route was suspended following seizure of drugs worth `300 crore that was being smuggled from PoK last month.
What Led to Probe?
NIA had on July 24 arrested seven separatist leaders, including son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Altaf Ahmed Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, Peer Saifullah, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Nayeem Khan, Shahid-ul-Islam, Farooq Ahmed Dar and Mohammad Akbar Khanday in connection with a case related to terror funding and fuelling subversive activities in the Valley. The accused have been booked under stringent provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.