Chief of banned Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik was on Thursday convicted by a Delhi court under the stringent anti-terror law in a case related to funding of terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, after he pleaded guilty to all charges framed against him.
Special Judge Praveen Singh posted the matter for May 25 to announce the quantum of punishment and also directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to assess Malik's financial condition to determine the amount of fine that could be imposed.
After the charges were framed in March, Malik on May 10 informed the court that he would not be contesting the charges levelled against him, including section 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being a member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.
Malik faces the maximum punishment of a death penalty, while the minimum sentence for the offences committed by him is life imprisonment.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is a banned terror organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The case pertains to the conspiracy by Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed and separatist leaders, including members of the Hurriyat Conference, who had acted in connivance with active members of banned terrorist organisations Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and others to raise, receive and collect funds domestically and from abroad through various illegal channels, including hawala.
The funds were for the purpose of separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir to cause disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on security forces, systematically burning schools, damaging public property, and waging war against India.
According to the NIA, the investigation established that Malik was the head of the JKLF, and was involved in terror activities in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.
In 2016, he, along with other Hurriyat leaders, formed a self-styled group called 'Joint Resistance Leadership', whereby they started issuing directions to the masses to hold protests, demonstrations, hartaals, shutdowns, road-blocks and such other disruptive activities which would push the entire society into chaos and lawlessness, the NIA said.
He was also involved in raising funds from LOC traders and various entities based abroad, and distributing those funds among militants and stone-pelters for funding stone-pelting and demonstrations, the agency said.
The NIA, which had registered a suo moto case on May 30, 2017, filed a charge sheet on January 18, 2018 against over a dozen people.
The court had earlier also formally framed charges against Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Farooq Ahmed Dar, alias Bitta Karate, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Md Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Abdul Rashid Sheikh, and Naval Kishore Kapoor.
The charge sheet also named the Lashker chief and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case.
Except for Watali, all others are in judicial custody.
A prominent businessman, Watali has been shifted to a home which has been declared a jail.
This relaxation was made as he was suffering from a deadly disease.
Malik is also facing other cases, including two in the CBI that pertains to the gunning down of Indian Air Force personnel in 1990 and the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in 1989.
The trial against the remaining accused persons in the case shall continue as they have pleaded not guilty before the court.