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Geelani's Close Aide Chargesheeted In Hawala Case

New Delhi, Aug 3: A close aide of fire-brand Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani is among four persons chargesheeted by National Investigation Agency in connection with alleged hawala racket used to channelise money to
PTI August 03, 2011 20:16 IST
PTI

New Delhi, Aug 3: A close aide of fire-brand Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani is among four persons chargesheeted by National Investigation Agency in connection with alleged hawala racket used to channelise money to terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen in the Kashmir Valley.  

The chargesheet names Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, said to be the right-hand man of Geelani, along with three other accomplices, including Mohd Sidiq Ganai, who had allegedly collected over Rs 4.57 crore during a period of three years from January, 2008 through hawala channels from Pakistan for promoting “terrorist” activities in the valley.

“The investigation has disclosed that four arrested accused acted as a gang and indulged in unlawful activities pursuant to criminal conspiracy and mobilised/raised funds for terrorist activities and thereby they committed offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” said the NIA in its 17-page chargesheet.

The chargesheet, filed by NIA DSP K S Thakur, said that “funds through hawala channels were being sent to Jammu and Kashmir for funding terror and secessionist acts in the state and Pakistan-based Maqbool Pandit, a member of banned Hizbul Mujahideen, and Aizaz Maqbool Bhat, at present living in Saudi Arabia, were the key accused behind it.” Special judge H S Sharma took the charge sheet on record for taking cognisance and issuing summons to the accused who are at present lodged in Tihar jail here.

Geelani's close aide Bhat was arrested from the Valley in January and Police from Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir allegedly recovered Rs 21 lakh from him which was supposed to be meant for distribution to separatist and terror groups in the state.

The case was handed over to NIA from Delhi Police Special Cell. During the probe, NIA as well as the police had questioned Geelani who reportedly told the investigators that he was receiving funds from various sources but had no links with Bhat in the hawala dealings.

The special cell of Delhi police, on January 22, had arrested Srinagar-based lawyer Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, Mohd Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga from a place in Jammu and Kashmir on a tip off that they were allegedly carrying hawala money for fomenting terror activities in the valley. It had also recovered Rs 21.20 lakh hawala money from them.

The NIA analysed “intercepted call records” of various accused, based in Delhi and Pakistan.

The chargesheet said investigation revealed that “huge consignments” of funds have been collected at various places in Delhi and one of accused Mohd Sidiq Ganai was in touch with ISI operatives Major Iqbal, an accused wanted in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and Col Abdullah.

Ganai, who has been identified as an active member of People's League, a constituent of Hurriyat led by Geelani, had gone to Pakistan in 1998 through Wagah border on Indian travel document and returned via Nepal on a Pakistani passport. PTI