Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

National Investigation Agency arrests financier Zahoor Watali in J&K terror funding case

National Investigation Agency arrests financier Zahoor Watali in J&K terror funding case

Top sources told Kashmir Dispatch that Inspector General of the NIA arrived in the valley yesterday and multiple raids are underway in Srinagar, Baramulla and Handwara.

Sources said Watali, who has been under the NIA scanner for almost two months and was called for repeated questioning at the agency's Delhi headquarters, was quizzed afresh while the raids went on for hours at his premises on Wednesday.

House of Abdul Rahim Wani, a lawyer in Munsif Court Magam and a relative of Watali was also raided.

The NIA teams had conducted raids on residences of separatist leaders and businessmen in May and June this year to probe militancy and separatist funding in the State.

"The searches have unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities", the statement said. The property documents seized have shown a huge amount of cash transactions in sale and purchase, an NIA statement said.

Watali was earlier arrested in 1990 by the Jammu & Kashmir Police when some anti-national activists were found present at his house at Srinagar, according to the NIA.

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It said Watali was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months in Jammu. A case was registered but investigation was stopped after the High Court stayed it.

Previously, he was also accused of travelling on a cancelled/invalid passport despite knowing that he was flouting the norms.

It said instead of surrendering the cancelled passport to the authorities, he travelled overseas on it on March 21, 2016, in violation of the law.

A case of cheating under the Ranbir Penal Code and violation of the Passport Act were registered against him.

After Wednesday's search, India Today reported that Watali's bank details were being check to find out how unaccounted money was being brought via Dubai to Kashmir. The NIA has already questioned Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Shah, separatists Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Peer Saifulla.

On July 26, the ED arrested senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), a constituent of hardline Hurriyat Conference (HC) headed by Geelani.

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