By Sheikh Qayoom
Srinagar, Sep 7 (IANS) The NIA on Thursday raided the house of senior separatist leader and influential Shia cleric Syed Agha Hassan as well as the houses of other separatist leaders and their aides in Kashmir Valley as part of its massive searches in the terror-funding case probe. JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested while Mirwaiz Umer Farooq placed under house arrest in Srinagar.
The arrest of Malik and the Mirwaiz’s house arrest came a day after the separatist leaders announced they would go to New Delhi to court arrest before the agency headquarters on September 9 in protest against the anti-terror agency’s crackdown in the Valley.
Sleuths of NIA carried out daylong raids in the Valley and Jammu city on Thursday.
A team of the agency assisted by state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) carried out a raid at the Badgam residence of Syed Agha Hassan. The raid began at 4 a.m. and continued the whole day. He is known to be associated with the Mirwaiz faction of the Hurriyat.
Simultaneous raids were carried out by teams of the anti-terror agency on the houses of Ghulam Nabi Sumji, senior separatist leader of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Hurriyat group, Zameer Thakur, a close aide of Shabir Shah, and Showkat Bakshi, a senior leader of the JKLF.
The NIA conducted raids at 12 places in the Valley and at one place in Jammu city.
The offices of the CA of arrested Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Wattali and residences of some cross-border traders were also searched. During searches fixed deposits of Rs 1 crore and “incriminating documents” and “suspicious financial records” and electronic devices were seized, the NIA said.
A team of the agency raided the house of Abdul Razak Choudhary in Bantlab area of Jammu city. Choudhary is s property dealer and believed to be close to Shabir Shah.
On Wednesday, the agency had raided 24 places in Kashmir Valley and in Delhi focusing mainly on traders, who allegedly have links with the terror funding case under probe by the NIA.
Meanwhile, police arrested JKLF chief Malik from his party’s Abi Guzar office in Srinagar city. He was later taken to a nearby police station.
Authorities also placed Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest in his Nigeen residence on the city outskirts.
Hardline senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani continues to be under house arrest in his uptown Hyderpora residence.
The three senior separatist leaders announced on Wednesday that they would take out a protest march to the NIA headquarters in New Delhi and court arrest on September 9.
The agency had in July arrested seven separatist leaders and a prominent local businessman in connection with the probe into the terror funding by Pakistan-based terrorist groups to stoke unrest in the valley.
President of Kashmir Bar Association Mian Qayoom was questioned by the NIA for nearly seven hours on Wednesday.
Lawyers in the valley have decided to stay away from courts till Qayoom returned from Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate is likely to register a money laundering case against some separatist leaders facing investigation by the NIA on charges of receiving terror funding from across the border to stoke unrest in the valley.
An ED official, requesting anonymity, told IANS that the financial probe agency would file a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against the separatist leader taking cognizance of the NIA FIR in connection with the case.
The ED had on June 23 registered money laundering case against Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Hizbul Mujahideen and members of the Hurriyat Conference in connection with alleged terror funding.
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