New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commanders and their associates smuggled heroin six times through the India-Pakistan border in Attari in the garb of importing rock salt granules from Pakistan and a “substantial amount” was “channelised” to banned terror groups in Kashmir through a network of over ground workers (OGWs) to support and augument terror infrastructure, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed in its chargesheet in connection with a narco-terror funding case.
The NIA also claimed that the money proceeds of five consignments were partly sent back to Pakistan through hawala operators.
The claims were made in the 14,000-page chargesheet filed by the anti-terror probe agency in a NIA special court at Mohali in Punjab under several sections of Indian Penal Code, Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and Indian Passports Act.
An NIA official said that the agency has named slain HM commander Riyaz Ahmed Naikoo, his close aide Hilal Ahmed Shergojri, a resident of Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, Bikram Singh and Maninder Singh, both residents of Amritsar in Punjab, Ranjit Singh and Jaswant Singh, both residents of Gurdaspur in Punjab, Ranjit Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Iqbal Singh, all residents of Amritsar, Zafar Hussain Bhat, a resident of Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir who’s presently residing in Pakistan.
Hizbul commander Naikoo was killed in an encounter with security forces on May 6 this year in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the NIA, Bhat and Iqbal Singh are still absconding.
The official said, “Investigation unearthed the conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based HM commanders and their associates and terrorist gangs in Punjab to support and augment the terror infrastructure of HM in India by raising money through drug smuggling or drug pedalling.”
The official said that it was revealed that the accused named in the chargesheet had received at least “six consignments” of heroin through the Attari border in the garb of importing rock salt granules from Pakistan.
“Of these, money proceeds of five consignments were partly sent back to Pakistan through hawala operators while a substantial portion was channelised to HM terrorists in Kashmir through a network of over ground workers and other associates,” the official said.
According to the NIA, the the sixth consignment of around 532 kg of heroin was seized at the Attari border in June last year and a separate case was registered.
The Punjab Police had busted a Hizbul Mujahideen terror-funding module in Amritsar on April 25 this year. The NIA had taken over the case on May 8.
The official said that during investigation, it emerged that accused Hilal, a truck driver, who had come to Amritsar to collect the amount of Rs 29 lakh, was a member of HM and a close associate of Naikoo.
“This led to the busting of a major narco-terror module involved in smuggling and selling of heroin in India and channelising the drug proceeds to Pakistan through hawala and to HM terrorists based in Jammu and Kashmir,” the official said.
Hilal was arrested by Punjab Police on April 25 this year with over Rs 29 lakh in cash.
“During investigation, the NIA carried out searches at 15 locations in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kaashmir,” the official said, adding that so far Rs 98.5 lakh, eight vehicles and 3 kg heroin have been seized from the accused and investments worth crores of rupees have been identified.
During the searches, incriminating documents related to benami properties and digital gadgets including mobile phones, pen drives and laptops were seized and forensically examined.
Many incriminating chats between the accused persons have been recovered from the seized digital devices, the NIA claimed.
Ranjit Singh and his accomplice Iqbal Singh alias Shera are the prime accused in a case registered in connection with 532 kg heroin seizure at the Attari border in June last year by the Customs department. The banned substance was found hidden in a consignment of rock salt imported from Pakistan.
Ranjit is the key accused in the case that led to the arrest of Halil.