NEW DELHI: A court here on Thursday ordered the release of nine persons arrested with demonetised currency that was alleged to be used for funding terror in Jammu and Kashmir.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Judge Tarun Sahrawat directed their release with immediate effect, if not required in any other case, after the central agency submitted that the possession of the demonetised currency does not fall under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or any scheduled offence handled by the NIA.
The nine persons are Pradeep Chauhan, 47, Bhagwan Singh, 54, Vinod Shreedhar Shetty, 47, Shahnawaz Mir, 45, Deepak Toprani, 60, Majid Yousuf Sofi, 27, Ejajul Hassan, 38, Umar Mushtaq Dar, 27, and Jaswinder Singh, 53.
Three hail from Jammu and Kashmir, two from Delhi, two from Mumbai, and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Nagpur.
The NIA arrested them from Jai Singh Road near Rajiv Chowk on November 7 last year during its ongoing probe into the Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case and seized nearly Rs 36.5 crore in demonetised currency.
The NIA said on scrutiny of material available on record, it appeared the nine were part of a conspiracy to commit offences under Section 7 of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act.
"However, this conspiracy is found to be distinct from the conspiracy for which a chargesheet has been filed... in the court on January 18 against 12 other accused," the NIA said.
On January 18, the NIA filed the chargesheet under stringent anti-terror laws against seven jailed Kashmiri separatist leaders on charges of conspiring with Pakistan-based terrorist leaders Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin to wage a war against India to secede Jammu and Kashmir.
On July 24, 2017, the NIA arrested seven of them -- Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah -- on charges of criminal conspiracy and waging war against India.
Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir's merger with Pakistan.
Islam is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.
The NIA also chargesheeted businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali and two alleged stone pelters -- Kamran and Javed Ahmed Bhat.
The court has listed the matter for February 2 to consider the chargesheet and also reserved order on Kamran's bail plea.