September 2017 News

Rs 2.2 Cr, Vital Record Seized As NIA Detains 3 During Raids At 27 Places

6 September 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal and Fayaz Bukhari

Jammu: In a major crackdown on cross-LoC traders, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) today carried out raids at 27 places in Kashmir, New Delhi and Gurugram (Haryana) after gathering 'substantial evidence' that the trade on both Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote routes of the State has been 'grossly misused' for terror funding and generating unrest in the Valley. 'By late this evening, the NIA sleuths had seized Rs 2.2 crores worth cash, several important documents that pertained to irregularities in the trade, laptops, desktops, mobile telephones and other equipments, which would give the investigators some vital leads in terror funding through cross-LoC trade from Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote routes,' sources told the Excelsior. Click here to watch video In another development in terror funding case, there were reports that some separatists, who had been arrested by the NIA for terror funding and hawala operations, have agreed to turn approver against two senior leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, which would serve vital proof and help the agency nail the separatists. Sources said the NIA could record the statement of separatists-turned-approvers before the Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC as the arrested leaders have made sensational revelations over use of terror funds and hawala money to fuel militancy and unrest in Kashmir. 'The confessional statements by some separatists could seal fate of senior Hurriyat Conference leaders,' sources said. Seven separatists and a businessman have so far been arrested by the NIA in connection with terror funding while another separatist and his aide were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate. This is for the first time that the NIA has carried out raids at such a large scale (27 places) to unearth terror funding through trade between two parts of divided State (Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir) even though it had searched the premises of some traders at Poonch, Uri and Srinagar few months back after registration of a case. Sources said that NIA raided houses, shops, business premises and godowns of cross-LoC traders simultaneously at 27 places today in Kashmir, New Delhi and Gurugram and seized vital record and documents pertaining to cross-LoC trade on both the routes. While raids at some places ended by this evening, they continued till late tonight at other places. 'During the searches, cash amounting to approximately Rs 2.20 crores was recovered from the premises of various traders,' sources said, adding that since the raids were on at few places, the seizure of cash and other items might go up. In addition, sources said, various digital devices including laptops, mobile phones and hard drives have also been seized during the searches. Besides, diaries pertaining to contacts of hawala operators- traders, ledger books containing accounts of cross-border LoC trade of various trading companies have been recovered. Some details of bank accounts of Jammu and Kashmir were also seized. Travel documents of some entities indicating their visits to the UAE have also been recovered, sources said, adding that some of the suspects were being questioned about the recoveries made from them. Sources said that the NIA conducted raids at Bemina, Jawahar Nagar, HMT and Old City areas of Srinagar and detained three persons. The raids were conducted at 11 locations including residential houses across Kashmir. Those whose houses were raided today include Bashir Ahmad Kaloo of Hamza Colony Bemina, Showkat Ahmad Kaloo of 63 Hamza Colony Bemina, Abdul Rashid Bhat of Hamza Colony Bemina, Firdous Iqbal Wani of Hamzah Colony Buchpora, Sajad Syed Khan of Halmatpora Kupwara, at present Ummarabad Zainkoot HMT and Imran Kawoosa of Nowhatta. Sources said that the NIA searched the residences of these persons and carried out thorough checking of documents. They said that the NIA detained three persons including Imran Kawoosa of Rang Hamam Nowhatta, Khursheed Amad of Jawahar Nagar and Hilal Ahmad Khan. Sources said that Khurheed is the owner of Waseem Enterprises Koker Bazaar and resides at the house of a retired bank manager at 166 Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar. Sources said that Hilal Ahmad Khan, who resides at Momin Lane House Number 31 Mehboob Colony, Naik Bagh Srinagar is a brother of a police official and he too has been detained for questioning. Khan is a fruit businessman and has a shop at Fruit Mandi Parimpora. In New Delhi, the NIA raided residences and other business premises of Ganga Bishan Gupta at Piyau, Model Town and his shop at Gadodia Market, Khari Bawli, Feroz Akhtar Siddiqui of New Patel Nagar, Delhi and Sunil Kumar Jain of Gadodia Market, Khari Bawli, Delhi Sources said the NIA has 'definite clues' that 'quite a good part' of funds generated by the businessmen from cross-LoC trade especially on Uri-Muzaffarabad route, had gone into the hands of militants, their commanders, separatists and stone pelters at the behest of Pakistan and leadership of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) outfits. 'Some commanders of the militant outfits, at the behest of Pakistan Government and Army, had virtually taken over the control of cross-LoC trade. Since it was barter trade on both the routes, the PoK traders on directions of the militants had been dispatching 'very high amount of goods' to their Kashmir counterparts but, in turn, seeking goods of 'low rates'. Major part of the excess amount generated by the Kashmir traders was being used for funding terrorism and unrest in the Valley,' sources said 'Not all traders were indulging in 'anti-national acts' but many of them were involved,' sources said, adding that the accused have been identified and raids were conducted at their residences and business premises to seize the documents to establish difference between import and export and benefits incurred by the traders. Not ruling out arrests of some of the traders in the next few days, sources said the investigators want to equip themselves with 'sufficient evidence' before laying hands on the accused involved in terror funding and hawala operations. The searches were part of NIA probe into the alleged irregularities in cross-LoC trade. In this connection, the NIA had carried out searches on traders at Trade Facilitation Centres at Salamabad in North Kashmir's Baramulla district and Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district of the Jammu region. During its probe, the NIA found that after clothes and 'dupattas', California almonds had emerged as the new product in cross-LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir that is being used a mode of terror-funding. According to the cross-LoC trade agreement between India and Pakistan, products grown in both sides of Jammu and Kashmir will be exchanged under barter system. The products included 'badam giri' that is grown in parts of Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir (PoK). The traders from PoK were sending and receiving California almonds and it is alleged that the money was used for funding of terror groups in the State. The NIA, in its FIR, had alleged that there was a large scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India through the import of California almonds (badam giri) via the cross-LoC trade mechanism through the Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh. 'This is in gross violation of the State policy of prohibition on trade in 'third-party origin goods' through this mechanism and information indicated that these funds are being used for fomenting terrorism and separatism in the State of Jammu and Kashmir,' the NIA said.