By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Letterheads of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jammat-ud-Dawa, Hizbul Mujahideen and other terrorist organisations are among various “significant evidences” that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) says are enough to book top separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in its ongoing probe in the J&K terror funding case.
The NIA investigators have scrutinized these letterheads which were recovered in a raid the agency conducted at seven locations in Srinagar last month.
An NIA officer, privy to the investigation, told IANS that Farooq, the Chairman Awami Action Committee, and more than six top separatist leaders “may soon face the heat” in the terror funding case the agency registered in May 2017.
The officer, however, did not clarify whether an FIR will be registered against these separatist leaders or they will be arrested. He only confirmed that “something big would happen soon before June”.
Asked about the names of those separatist leaders, the officer, on condition of anonymity, said Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, and Naseem Geelani, son of Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani, are on the NIA list. The agency on March 9 issued summons to them to appear before its headquarters here for questioning.
Geelani has been questioned on more than three occasions in the case.
Other separatist leaders on NIA radar are Mohammad Ashraf Khan, Chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Masarat Alam, General Secretary, All Party Hurriyat Conference, and Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement.
Scrutiny of a high-tech internet communication setup and documents relating to recommendations for visa for admission in a few Pakistan educational institutions are other evidence which are crucial in linking relations of Farooq and other suspected separatist leaders to Pakistan-based terror outfits, said the official.
According to the official, some property papers, financial transactions receipts, bank account details and electronic devices including laptops, e-tablets, mobile phones, pen drives, communication system and digital video recorders are also the part of these evidence that are enough to prove how these separatist leaders have been indulged in “anti-national operations” on directions of the heads of these terror groups.
The evidence are part of February 26 raid the NIA conducted at the residential premises of these suspected separatist leaders including Shabbir Shah, President of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party.
The NIA in January 18 last year filed chargesheet against 12 including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others.
The separatist leaders arrested in the case on July 24, 2017 are Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.
Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Shahid-ul-Islam is an aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.
Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was also arrested in the case on August 17, 2017, and was on September 12 granted bail by the Delhi High Court.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])