New Delhi: Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and close associates of Kashmiri separatists Mirwaiz Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani were named by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its chargesheet in terror funding and money laundering cases.
“Hurriyat leaders, terrorists and stone-pelters are carrying out terrorist attacks and orchestrating violence, stone-pelting and other subversive and secessionist activities in J&K as part of their well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched with the active support, connivance and funding from terrorist organisations based in Pakistan,” the agency said in its chargesheet.
All the accused have been charged with waging war against India, sedition, criminal conspiracy, and have been booked under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.
The NIA claimed to have unearthed evidence that directly connects the Hurriyat with terror chiefs like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin “under whose guidance”, the probe agency claimed, separatists “form strategies and action-plans” to create “an atmosphere of terror and fear” in the valley.
Through its investigation, NIA claimed to have established that all the 12 accused, which also include stone-pelters, receive “funds from Pakistani agencies through hawala conduits such as [businessman] Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali”.
The separatists were receiving funds, NIA claimed, by “raising funds by generating illegal profits from Line of Control (LoC) barter trade by doing under-invoicing and cash-dealings. The money is also routed through “fake and bogus companies floated abroad and remitted to the Hurriyat leaders in Jammu & Kashmir.”
The NIA claimed that these funds are then used by the separatists and terror networks to “fuel mass violence and terrorist activities in the valley”.
The NIA launched a probe in cases of money laundering and terror funding cases in the valley after lodging an FIR in May last year. In July, it arrested over a dozen people suspected of having links with terror groups across based in Pakistan.
In its chargesheet, filed in an NIA court on Thursday, the NIA claimed to have seized over 950 incriminating documents and 600 electronic devices that established the role of the 12 accused that it presented before the court. India's premier investigating agency claimed to have got testimonies from over 300 witnesses in the case.
Among the accused are Aftab Shah, media advisor and strategist of Mirwaiz faction of the Hurriyat, Altaf Ahmad Shah, the son-in law of Geelani and the secretary and strategist of Geelani faction of Hurriyat, Nayeem Khan who is a senior leader in APHC, Bitta Karate who is a senior Hurriyat leader and was accused of killing dozens of Kashmiri Pandits, and Bashir Ahmad Bhat, the personal assistant of Geelani.
The 12 accused also include Kamran Yusuf, who was an independent photographer in Kashmir, whom the NIA has accused of stone-pelting.