ED attaches properties of Kashmir businessman Watali, centric to terror funding case
New Delhi, Aug 02: The Enforcement Directorate has attached properties belonging to Kashmir businessman Zahoor Watali to the tune of Rs 1.73 crore. The ED action comes in the midst of a probe into the terror funding case, involving Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief, Hafiz Saeed.
It may be recalled that the ED had in April attached properties worth Rs 6.19 crore belonging to Watali and his family members. The attached assets consisting of immovable properties worth Rs. 1.48 crores in the name of family members of Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali and balance available in the Bank Account of Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd, New Delhi worth Rs. 25 lakh.
The action has been taken under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The NIA is also probing this case and it had found that several separatists had routed these funds for personal use and there was also a rift among them regarding the money.
Investigation revealed that Zahoor Ahamad Shah Watali is one of the main hawala conduit who used to generate and receive funds from Pakistan, ISI, UAE and had floated various shell companies to disguise foreign remittances for further transfer to separatist leaders and stone pelters in the valley. These funds were used to fuel unrest in the Kashmir valley and organise violent agitations and anti-India activities which resulted in large scale violence leading to numerous injuries and deaths of civilians and security forces.
The National Investigation Agency had arrested Yasin Malik, leader of proscribed organisation JKLF, Asiya Andrabi leader of proscribed organisation Duktaran-e-Milat, Separatist leader Shabir Shah of JKDFP and Masrat Alam of Muslim League. All the four accused were taken into police custody for custodial interrogation.
Malik revealed that he was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat Conference and formed the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the violent agitations in 2016 in Kashmir Valley by issuing "Protest Calendars" leading to economic shut down for over four months and also caused death and injuries to civilians and security forces during the violent protests.
Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Gilani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley.
Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by muslim women in the valley. Asiya Andrabi was confronted with evidence regarding funding of educational expenses of her son in Malaysia from 2011 onwards through foreign remittances made by Zahoor Watali.
NIA has already approached the concerned authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Mohammad bin Qasim (son of Asiya Andrabi) while he was studying in the University.
Masarat Alam, the so called poster boy of stone pelters and violent agitations in Kashmir valley, during his custodial interrogation, revealed that Pakistan based agents route the funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatist leaders including Syed Shah Gilani Chairman APHC(G). Masarat Alam also revealed that there are rifts in the Hurriyat conference regarding collection and use of funds.