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Pak funding row: NIA grills separatist leaders

Source: PTI
May 21, 2017 10:08 IST
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The National Investigation Agency on Saturday quizzed three Kashmiri separatists in connection with its probe into the role of Lashker-e-Tayyaba chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in subversive activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA team, headed by the additional director general, had asked Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate' and Gazi Javed Baba to appear before it for for their explanation on an expose on a television channel where they had claimed receiving funds from Pakistan.

After initial reluctance, the three separatists fell in line and were questioned separately by the team of NIA, which named them in its preliminary enquiry on Friday.

In a statement, the NIA's spokesperson said that the agency questioned Dar at Srinagar regarding the hawala and terror funding issue.

"The questioning of Naeem Khan and Ghazi Javed Baba is still going on. They have also been asked to produce certain documents for examination. The hotel in Srinagar in which the sting operation took place, has been identified. The NIA team is completing formalities of identification of room, collection of records," the spokesperson had said on Saturday.

The NIA is also probing all angles of the funding of separatist leaders.

'The NIA has collected the copies of the FIRs of about 150 cases and analysing these FIRs registered in the valley in the recent past, regarding damage caused to the schools and public property as part of the larger conspiracy to perpetuate violence and chaos in Kashmir. The probe is continuing,' the statement added.

The NIA team will also be gathering evidence collected by the Jammu and Kashmir Police about the burning of schools as Khan had claimed that the educational institutions were targeted as per the plans hatched from across the border.

The schools were targeted last year after banned Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

Besides these three, NIA has named Saeed and Geelani in the PE, which precedes the filing of a case.

Nayeem Khan, who was suspended by Geelani from Hurriyat on Saturday, was seen on television during the sting operation purportedly confessing to receiving money from Pakistan-based
terror groups.

Geelani suspended Khan's National Front from the basic membership of the Hurriyat Conference until the clarification of all the related issues comes to fore and the truth comes
out, a spokesman for the hardline leader said.

Khan had held a press conference here in which he claimed that the video was "doctored" and challenged the channel to run his full video instead.

"The video is doctored, simulated and a collage of bits and pieces. It does not have a shred of credibility. The agenda of Indian media is to defame the Kashmir struggle and pro-freedom leadership," he said.

The NIA's PE alleged that the separatists were receiving funds from the LeT chief to carry out subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley, including pelting security forces with stones, damaging public property and burning schools and other government establishments.

The NIA took cognisance of the news item related to a recording of conversations between a TV reporter and leaders of separatist groups operating in the Kashmir Valley in this regard.

IMAGE: Hurriyat Conference Leader Nayeem Khan addressing a press conference on the allegations of receiving funds from Pakistan in Srinagar on Saturday. Photograph: PTI Photo


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