NIA's chargesheet next week, after MHA's sanction to tougher terror law

TNN Bureau. Updated: 1/13/2018 2:12:12 AM Front Page

Terror Funding

JAMMU: The National Investigation Agency is likely to file a chargesheet against seven Kashmiri separatists including son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and a businessman in the case of terror funding in the Kashmir Valley, as it awaits sanction from the Ministry of Home Affairs for prosecution of accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, a much tough law than the previous law in course.
The NIA on Friday told a Delhi Court that it will file final report in the case next week, even as the court extended till January 18 the judicial custody of accused persons.
"The investigation of the case is at concluding stage and the evidence on record is being summed up," NIA said.
The agency urged the court to extend the judicial custody of the eight accused for another seven days. The court did so, via video conferencing. The eight have been charged with receiving funds from Pakistan to sponsor terror activities and stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, sources informed that NIA is awaiting sanction from MHA for prosecuting the accused persons under a tougher law which is likely to be cleared by next week.
The MHA had received a request in this regard from the central probe agency last week, which was forwarded to a two-member authority comprising former Allahabad High Court judge Dr Satish Chandra and former law secretary T K Viswanathan.
The sanction, mandatory under Section 45 of the UAPA, is likely to be accorded by next week, sources said, adding that failing the sanction, the separatists leaders will be eligible for bail, "however there is very less probability of the same."
The agency official meanwhile informed that the chargesheet is likely to include the amount (Rs 2.20 crore) recovered during searches, reports from experts on seized electronic equipment and call details records, diaries including contacts of hawala operators and traders, besides naming Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.
On July 24, 2017, the NIA arrested seven of them -- 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 -- on charges of criminal conspiracy and waging war against India.
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. Islam is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.
Businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, accused of acting as a conduit for channelling funds for separatists and terror activities in the Kashmir Valley, was arrested on August 17 last year.
He was allegedly collecting funds from Pakistan and banned terrorist organisations and transferring the same to Hurriyat leaders.
Watali is known to be friends with Pakistani leaders as well as separatists, besides leading politicians in Kashmir, the NIA said.

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