NIA Takes Over 'hawala' Case20 April 2011
Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the probe into the hawala case of Jammu and Kashmir in which a close aide of Hurriyat Conference (G) chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested in January. The decision was taken by the Union Home Ministry as the ring involved in alleged hawala dealings was spreading its network to various other states and neighbouring countries too, sources said. Geelaniís close aide Ghulam Muhammad Bhat was arrested under Unlawful Activities (Preventive) Act from the Valley in January and Delhi Police and Jammu and Kashmir Police allegedly recovered Rs 21 lakh from him which was supposedly meant for distribution to separatist leaders in the state. After his arrest, he was brought to Delhi where he was questioned by sleuths belonging to various agencies. During his interrogation, Bhat is alleged to have told the police that he had passed money to several separatist leaders following which Delhi Police swung into action and handed over a one-line notice to Geelani asking him not to leave the city until he appeared in the police station concerned for questioning. Delhi Police had later summoned and questioned Geelani and recorded his statement. Bhat was already facing five cases. He was earlier arrested in 2008 in Udhampur district while returning to the Valley with alleged hawala money of Rs 55 lakh concealed in a gas cylinder. Two other persons - one from Kupwara and another from Sopore in north Kashmir - were also arrested in this case, the sources said, adding more arrests were likely after Bhatís detailed interrogation.