Hawala Trail: Geelani Questioned1 March 2011
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Pro-Pakistan Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was today questioned by men of the special cell of Delhi Police in connection with a hawala case in which one of his close aides Ghulam Mohammed Bhat has been arrested. Geelani, who has been avoiding questioning in this case, made an unsuccessful attempt to leave the national capital this morning when he was intercepted by Assistant Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Bhisham Singh near the airport and escorted to Lodhi Road where his statement as well as questioning was done. During the two-hour questioning, Geelani was brought face to face with Bhat, who is at present in police custody after he was arrested under Unlawful Activities (Preventive) Act, after his arrest on January 21. Commenting on the questioning of Geelani, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said 'Delhi Police had requested him to make himself available for questioning in a hawala case. He (Geelani) had cited poor health as the reason for non appearance to which he was asked to appear as soon as he was fine. 'However, he was leaving this morning for Srinagar. So when he is fit to travel, he should be fit to record his statement as well. His statement was recorded and now he can leave whenever he wants to,' Chidambaram said. Delhi Police had served notice to Geelani asking him not to leave the capital but he left this morning for the airport to catch a flight to Srinagar. Geelani, who had been given the notice last month, was served a fresh notice last night. On the way to airport, he was stopped and was taken to Lodhi Road police station for questioning. 'He has been called in to join investigations related to Hawala case. Our investigating officials questioned him over the matter,' P N Aggarwal, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), told. The recently-unearthed hawala trail in the Kashmir Valley has put the spotlight on some senior leaders of the Hurriyat conference following which the head of the hardline faction of the separatist grouping, Geelani was asked not to leave Delhi so that he could be questioned. Efforts to contact Geelani for comments did not fructify as his son Dr Nayeem Geelani said that his father was busy and not available for comments. Spokesman of hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference Ayaz Akbar had alleged if Geelani was being implicated in the hawala case it would be construed as an attempt to defame the movement in Kashmir. Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir police had recently arrested one of Geelani's close aides Ghulam Mohammed Bhat for allegedly receiving hawala money.