Probe reveals LeT chief routed money through hawala networks operating in different countries since July 2016.
New Delhi: Investigations into a case of terror funding in the Kashmir Valley being carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that the founder of Jamaatud-Dawa, Hafiz Saeed, pumped in almost Rs 50 crore for subversive activities in the region following the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.
The FIR lodged by the NIA in connection with the case also names Saeed, who is probably the most wanted terrorist in India and mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, as one of the main accused for financing terror activities in the Valley. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which also lodged a case on Friday to investigate the money laundering angle in terror financing, too has named Hafiz.
The NIA, along with central intelligence agencies, has launched a massive probe into money being pumped into the Valley through the hawala channels and cross border trade across the Line of Control. This money is being used not just for terror operations but also being paid to separatists for stepping up violent activities like stone pelting in the Valley.
“Initial investigations have confirmed that Hafiz Saeed routed at least Rs 50 crore over a period of almost a year since last July during which time the Valley witnessed unprecedented violence. This is a conservative estimate and the figure could be much higher. Most of the money came through a well organised hawala network through Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and UAE. We are trying to piece together the entire chain to establish clearly who were the end receivers of this money,” a senior intelligence official said.
These details have emerged during the course of elaborate investigations carried out by NIA and intelligence agencies across several cities including Delhi, Gurgaon, Sonepat, Jammu and Srinagar. The investigating agencies have managed to get some details of the money that came in through the hawala network. Sources claimed that most hawala operators who were raided by the agencies had destroyed most records related to the money being sent to separatists.
But the NIA managed to recover some of the incriminating documents, foreign currency of UAE and Saudi Arabia, details of some bank accounts and lockers as well as some computer hard disks and pen drives, which helped them calculate the quantum of money that might have come into the Valley.
The NIA is also planning to tighten the noose around some separatists who have already been questioned in connection with the case. Prominent among these include Altaf Ahmed Shah, who happens to be the son-in-law of senior hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Altaf Shah, also known as Altaf Fantoosh, was questioned about the functioning of a particular outfit, Tehrek-e-Hurriyat, which is headed by Mr Geelani.
It is suspected that Altaf Shah plays an important role in raising funds for the Tehrek-e-Hurriyat. The NIA has also searched his premises in Srinagar and some businessmen linked to him in Jammu. Among other separatist leaders who have either been questioned or raided by the NIA include Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’.
Apart from Hafiz Saeed, the FIR lodged by NIA also names Hizbul Mujhaideen and Dukhtaran-e-Milat along with Mr Geelani and senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Farooq.