How California almonds funded terror in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar, Dec 22: The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday said that it is probing large scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India through the import of California almonds (badam giri). The NIA also said that it had learnt that the import was taking place at the trade facilitation centres. A probe was launched as it was found that the money raised through this mechanism was being used to fund terror.

How almonds funded terror in J&K

NIA officials informed OneIndia that the traders from Pakistan occupied Kashmir were receiving and sending California almonds. This money was being used to fund terror, the officer also revealed. According to the cross-Line of Control agreement between India and Pakistan, products grown on both sides of Jammu and Kashmir can exchanged under the barter system. The products include California almonds which is grown in parts of PoK.

Traders under scanner:
During searches, the NIA officials found documents related to the exchange of California almonds. The documents showed that the traders from PoK were sending almonds and the money was being used to fund terror groups in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA carried out searches on traders at the trade facilitation centres at Salamabad in north Kashmir's Baramulla district and Chakan da Bagh in Poonch district of the Jammu region.

A few months back, the NIA had also received information that businessmen and traders were aiding with the funding of terror activities. The NIA probed the flow of money into the Valley and it was found that there were remittances from West Asia and Europe into Jammu and Kashmir. It was also found that some Kashmiri businessmen from Saudi Arabia had over invoiced the price of goods and pumped money into the Valley.

Roping in truck drivers:
It was found that Hizbul Mujahideen had roped in some truck drivers involved in cross border trade for this operation. The Hizbul Mujahideen had sent its terrorists to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as traders. The truck drivers would ferry them across to PoK.

The NIA during the course of its probe learnt that when these terrorists returned from PoK they had with them huge chunks of cash and weapons. The terrorists from Pakistan parked in PoK would facilitate both the cash and the weapons. It was further found that Rs 80 crore had come into the Valley in various installments.

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