NIA to probe Geelani and other Kashmiri separatist leaders for receiving funds from Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a preliminary inquiry into funding of Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bita Karatey, Gazi Javed Baba and others in Jammu and Kashmir by Hafiz Saeed and other Pakistan based militant groups and agencies to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir and damage public property, stone pelting on the security forces, burning of schools and other government establishments,” a spokesman of NIA said.

A crack team of sleuths from the National Investigation Agency has landed in Srinagar and started a hunt for the Hurriyat terrorists who have been exposed in the TV sting operation.

NIA Inspector General Alok Mittal said the prima facie case against the Hurriyat leaders looks very strong and that his agency is confident they would be able to take stringent action against the Hurriyat terrorists,who have been exposed.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.

The fresh probe comes in the backdrop of a senior Hurriyat leader spilling the beans in a TV sting operation about Hafiz-Hurriyat nexus. The NIA, sources said, will investigate how the money sent from Pakistan was distributed in the Valley to fuel the unrest. “Some more people are expected to be involved in the nexus. The NIA is scrutinizing phone and bank details of several other people suspected to be involved in routing the funds to separatists and militants,” they added.

Sources said the agency, which handles high-profile cases such as that of terrorism, will call for questioning Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Naeem Khan, Gazi Javed Baba and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate, four prominent separatist figures it named in a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on Thursday.

A PE,is a precursor to an FIR (first investigation report), the first step to launching a probe. Preliminary enquiry encompasses any enquiry or investigation, which is conducted as a prelude to the holding of a regular inquiry. Preliminary enquiry is a fact-finding enquiry.

The four are suspected to have received funds from sources such as militant group Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT) to pay off people carrying out violent protests and arson in the Valley, where more than 100 civilians have been killed since July last year.

“We suspect the money was distributed in the Valley for various violent activities like stone pelting and torching of schools and government buildings,” said a senior NIA official.

The money, NIA officials believe, was routed through hawala, isa system of transferring money across borders thaareoutlawed in India. The PE names LeT patron Hafiz Saeed as one of the sources for the funds, in addition to other unknown persons in Pakistan.

Sources in the anti-terror probe agency said discreet inquiries in the past have shown that some people who received terror funds in their accounts had no connection whatsoever with the depositors and the amounts were withdrawn immediately after being transferred.

The PE alleges that the hawala route is used to send money from Pakistan to agents sitting in Old Delhi’s Ballimaran and Chandni Chowk area before it is taken to the Valley.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani amongst other top Kashmiri separatist leaders have been accused of involvement in subversive activities and receiving funds from LeT chief Hafiz Saeed.

Earlier this year, the NIA had also questioned several cross LoC traders in Kashmir who were suspected to have been used by Pakistan to send money to Hizbul Mujahideen and Hurriyat leaders.

Between 2008 when the barter trade started, till 2016, according to NIA estimates, Pakistan has supplied about 34,000 trucks via Uri route worth Rs 2,000 crore while India has sent 22,000 trucks worth Rs 1,900 crore. This gap of Rs 100 core, the NIA suspects, was used to fund terror activities in the Valley.

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