June 2002 News

Racket funding militant outfits in J&K busted

28 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Dealing yet another blow to funding of militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir by ISI, security agencies have arrested four persons including, a Valley- based businessman, and a former Hurriyat Conference leader. The four—Mohammed Safi Mir businessman and the kingpin, Mohammed Yaqub Vakil, former Hurriyat leader, Abdul Majid Dar and Hayat Ahmed Bhat—were arrested last night and booked under POTA for allegedly providing funds to pro-Pak militant outfits Jaish- e-Mohammed, Al-Umar Mujahideen and Hizbul Mujahideen, a BSF spokesman said here today. The spokesman said Safi, a carpet dealer, was conducting his operations with the help of his Dubai-based son Naseer Safi Mir alias ''Bablu'', who in turn used to receive funds from ISI and top brass of militant outfits based in Pakistan. All the monetary transactions were sent to Safi by his son through hawala channel and the same was used for funding various militant outfits, the spokesman said. Stating that the money was routed to Safi through a Delhi-based businessman, the spokesman said recently he had received a sum of Rs 50 lakh from Mushataq Zargar, chief of Al-Umar. Zargar is one of the three militants released by India to end hijacking of Indian Airlines plane in 1999. He said Vakil was the main conduit of Al-Umar outfit and had confessed that he had received Rs 50 lakh from Safi in his bank account opened in the name of fake firm ''Wakil Exporters''. The spokesman said Rs 50 lakh were disbursed by Vakil among the cadres of Jaish and Al-Umar. The arrests were made just a fornight after security agencies along with Income Tax department raided the premises of senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for allegedly receiving funds from Pakistan. Geelani and his two sons-in- law were arrested on June nine under Public Safety Act and Official Secrets Act. Abdul Majid Dar, Manager of Safi, and Hayat Ahmed Bhat, his accountant, had confessed that they were depositing the money under various fixed deposit schemes using fake names, the spokesman claimed. The two had revealed that the interest and other monetary incentives from the bank against these schemes were used for rotating the hawala money, he said. BSF has already launched a manhunt to nab the ground level militants, who had received the amount, he said. The spokesman claimed that Safi, who was intrumental in disbursement of nearly Rs five crore since 1994, had also revealed during interrogation that he had presented a Tata Sumo to Geelani, funds for which were provided by Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin. The security agencies have been able to put an effective clamp down on funding to militant organisations especially through hawala and business channels and seized nearly Rs four crore this year so far. The business channel was found after the arrest of an editor of a local monthly magazine Imtiaz Bazaz who had received funds from a Kashmiri separatist leader Ayub Thakur through his London-based NGO Mercy Universal, which claims to be engaged in humanitarian work. The State administration alongwith central agencies began their crackdown in the first week of December last year and netted a whopping Rs 3.5 crore this year, the sources said. Confessions by various militants have revealed that ISI and ‘Tanzeems’ governing some of the militant outfits in Kashmir had started sending money to carpet dealers, who were mainly of Kashmiri origin. Originating from Pakistan, money is routed through various channels to carpet dealers in Dubai who accommodate this in their book of accounts by over-invoicing their business and showing huge profit, they said. The money is then sent to India through hawala channel and any of the conduits of these militants would collect it from a hawala operator using a pre-fixed code, the sources said. The carpet dealers have said in their confessions that it was easy money for them as they used to get their share of Commission (15 per cent for every lakh). Another share of Commission went to the hawala dealer who used to make the final delivery, they added. The Dubai connection of funding came to light in March, 2000 when police intercepted one person at the border of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab and recovered Rs 33 lakh from him, which was meant for people’s league, one of the constituents of Hurriyat Conference, the sources said. Some of these carpet dealers from posh Lajpat Nagar area of South Delhi were questioned and their interrogation threw more light on the entire ramifications of the Dubai channel of funding militancy and separatist movement in the State, they said. The reason why the ISI chose the carpet owners was that some of them also doubled up as messengers between militants and Hurriyat leaders, the sources claimed.


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