Continuing their crackdown after the Pulwama attack, the Enforcement Directorate is likely to attach the properties of the Kashmir separatists. The ED is currently probing charges of money laundering against the separatists based on an NIA FIR that alleged their activities were being funded by money from Pakistan-based terror groups.
According to reports, the ED is now in the process of identifying properties belonging to prominent separatist leaders. “We will soon file a prosecution complaint in the case. We have identified properties belonging to accused such as Zahoor Watali and some others associated with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Watali is the key conduit between separatists and outfits in Pakistan. These properties will be attached in due course,” an ED official said.
Earlier, the ED had recognised as many as 14 properties in Jammu and Kashmir belonging to Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, co-founder of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group and plans to seize the same.
Central agencies have identified several properties including malls, office complexes, residential spaces, bungalows, flats, partnership in companies, stone quarries and vast tracts of land, which were directly or indirectly belonging to the Hurriyat conference.
These were in the process of being verified, said sources. Most of these properties are located in Kashmir and few in Delhi in areas like Khirki Village and Vasant Kunj.
In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the NIA tightened its noose on the Kashmiri separatists, following Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s media address in which, making obvious reference to these separatists he asserted that there are some elements which are in connivance with terrorist organisations and are involved in terror conspiracies. He had furthered that these links would be probed.
Following this the NIA on February 26, the day the Indian Air force conducted ariel airstrikes bombing Jaish terror camps in Pakistan, conducted raids in seven locations including, the residences of Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, in Srinagar. Apart from these, houses of Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Zafar Akbar Bhat, Naseem Geelani, Masrat Alam, and Shabir Ahmed Shah were also raided.
These raids were in connection to the agency’s investigation in the alleged terror-funding case. A statement by NIA said that letterheads of different terrorist organisations, as well as documents relating to recommendations for a visa for admission in Pakistan educational institutions, were found during the raids.
In the massive crackdown, almost the entire leadership of Jamat-e-Islami and several other top separatist leaders had been detained. The security cover provided to separatists was withdrawn too.