The summoning of Rashid Engineer in the Kashmir terror funding case is a major development. The independent MLA will have to appear before the NIA in October and he can be prepared for some very tough questions.
NIA officers say that the case is at a very crucial stage. We took it step by step and did not want to rush through things. In the past the rush has cost investigators dear and cases had to be closed. This time around the evidence is rock solid and there is no political interference what so ever, an officer also added.
Even a probe ordered in 2016 had to be dropped for want of evidence. However the fresh probe ordered by the Modi government in 2017 is probably one of the best and most water-tight cases against the Kashmir seperatists.
The very fact that there has been a drop in violence is an indicator that the funds have been choked and have dried up. The separatists have either run out of money are too scared to pull it out and fund the violence.
There have been probes in the past as well, but these leaders have never taken it seriously. This time around the documents seized and the huge number of arrests carried out suggests that the NIA is going for the big guns next.
NIA sources suggest that next in line could be Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. The details against the two Hurriyat hawks is very strong in nature. Moreover these two separatists have been desperately looking for a good lawyer to defend them in court.
The NIA says that it is confident that this case would be taken to the logical end. The cases of the past have not been as strong. In fact the NIA had to drop a 2016 case on the same issue.
The probe this time is different for a variety of reasons. First and foremost the NIA has been given a free hand to probe the cases and there is no political compulsion on the agency on who to arrest and who not to. The probe was carried out in multiple directions.
Moreover if one looks at the manner in which Kashmir is being handled, it is text book Ajit Doval doctrine in which it says that the policy of non-appeasement must be shunned.
The NIA began with the foreign funding which came in from Pakistan, Dubai, London and Saudi Arabia. The agency then studied thousands of documents relating to the cross border trade. It was suspected that this route through the Line of Control was used to pump in the funds.
While these dimensions were already know, the NIA decided that it would actually act upon it and hence carried out the arrests. It was the arrests that became the turning point for the NIA. The questioning of these separatists and their associates only added weight to the evidence that the NIA had already sourced.
The arrests and this hectic probe by the NIA had its ripple effects in Kashmir as well. The unrest is dying a slow death and the funds are gradually drying up. Earlier separatists used to dole out money at will to fund stone pelters and terrorists. However this time they are careful, watchful as they are fully aware that a full-fledged probe with all its seriousness and minus the appeasement is on.