March 2003 News

Former Hurriyat Spokesman Quizzed Over Funds

1 March 2003
The Times of India

New Delhi: Continuing its probe into the alleged funding of separatist movements in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi Police quizzed Hurriyat Conference's former Delhi-based Spokesman Abdul Majid Bandey here. Official sources said Bandey was grilled for the entire day on Friday about the day-to-day running of the amalgam's Delhi office, which has since been shut down by the conglomerate itself. The sources said the former spokesman was asked about the source of income and whether some earlier instances indicated that the Hurriyat leaders had been visiting the Pakistan High Commission here to receive money. When contacted, Bandey who is here in connection with the treatment of his daughter, acknowledged that he had been questioned by the Delhi Police but refused to divulge anything further. Bandey, who is now the General Secretary of the People's Conference (led by Sajjad Lone), was the spokesman of the Hurriyat in Delhi till September last year. The sources said that Bandey was also asked to explain the funds received by the Delhi-based office from Srinagar and whether any account was being maintained of the money spent on the visits of the Hurriyat leaders to the national capital since the opening of the office here. Delhi Police has stopped any transactions from four bank accounts belonging to the Hurriyat. The statement of Anjum Zamrooda Habib, chief of Muslim Khawateen Markaz, and main accused in alleged funding of a separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir, has been recorded before a Deputy Commissioner of Police. As per the POTA law, she would have to confirm the statement before a judge after which it would be taken as 'confessional' statement. Habib and Shabir Dar, Delhi-based spokesman of Hurriyat, arrested by Delhi Police on February 6 for accepting money from Pakistan High Commission, have alleged that it was meant for Hurriyat Chief Abdul Ghani Bhat for funding separatist movement. The police are also studying the data of 27 floppies, 23 audio cassettes, 27 video cassettes and 26 MP8 cassettes seized from the office of the Hurriyat Conference during a raid here last month. The Delhi Police, on a tip-off from the intelligence agencies had arrested Habib for receiving Rs 3.07 lakh allegedly from expelled Pakistan Charge d'Affaires Jaleel Abbas Jilani. The expelled diplomat has also been named in the FIR registered in this connection. Controversies over bungling of funds has been dogging the Hurriyat ever since its inception with senior Jamaat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani facing criticism from various militant groups for allegedly swindling crores of rupees meant for victims of Chrar-e-Sharief in late 1990s. JKLF Chairman Yaseen Malik was arrested last year on similar charges which was followed by arrest of Geelani for allegedly supplying money to militant groups.


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