New Delhi, January 18 ( PTI): India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday filed a charge sheet against 12 persons, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) chief, Hafeez Saeed, and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen head, Syed Salahuddin, in a case related to alleged funding of terror and secessionist activities in the Kashmir Valley, and sought permission to continue the probe.
The 1,279- page charge sheet was filed before a designated court in New Delhi.
The judicial custody of 10 people arrested in connection with the case ended on Thursday.
Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the prosecuting agency has to file a charge sheet within 6 months, failing which the accused is/are eligible for bail.
NIA officials said they had gathered substantial material and technical evidence, and that 60 locations were raided and 950 incriminating documents seized. There were 300 witnesses in the case.
The NIA had arrested Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani; spokesperson of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq-led moderate Hurriyat Conference; Shahid- ul-Islam; spokesperson of the Geelani-led faction of the Hurriyat Conference.
Noted businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali was also arrested by the NIA in connection with the case, which was registered after the valley was rocked by violent protests following the killing of Hizb’s poster boy Burhan Wani in a gunfight with the security forces in 2016.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militant Bitta Karate, photo journalist Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmed Bhat have also been named in the charge sheet.
The NIA has accused Saeed and Salahuddin of fomenting trouble and sending funds to the Kashmir Valley through non-banking channels.
The FIR named Saeed as an accused, besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), the Hizb and Dukhtaran-e-Milat, member of the Hurriyat, Ayaz Akbar; and separatists Nayeem Khan, Bashir Bhat alias Peer Saifullah and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal.
The NIA recorded confessional statements on the flow of money, especially from Pakistan, from four of the accused. The statements, given before a judicial magistrate, had tightened the case against the separatists, who allegedly funded ”stone-pelters” and spread unrest in Kashmir, the officials said.
While three of them have been formally arrested, the fourth was detained and subsequently let off after he said he would turn approver, the officials said, declining to divulge their names.
Pakistan-based Kashmiri terrorist Syed Salahuddin of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen had vowed that he would make Kashmir “the graveyard of the Indian armed forces.” Hafiz Saeed is the head of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which has now changed to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Both are designated as terrorists by the US State Depatrment.
(The featured images at the top rae those of Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin)