The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has decided to seize nearly 14 properties belonging to Pakistan-sponsored Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist outfit chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to clamp down on terror funding, reported Economic Times.
Reportedly, the ED has identified the “proceeds of crime” invested by Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali, who is alleged to be terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s financier. In August last year, Watali, 70, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over terror funding.
“The 14 properties identified include bungalows, palatial houses. All these properties will be attached,” a senior officer said according to the Economic Times report.
The Enforcement Directorate had registered a fresh case against Hafiz Saeed on January 19, was already following one against him and others on the basis of a first information report (FIR) filed by the NIA in June 2017, as per the report. The LeT carried out the terror attacks on Parliament in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008.
Addition to that, the ED has identified properties worth Rs 50.73 crore in Mumbai and Pune belonging to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. These assets were allegedly acquired from the proceeds of crime, the agency sources told the publication. In October 2018, a special NIA court had ordered the attachment of four properties in Mumbai belonging to Zakir Naik, booked under an anti-terror law.
Besides, the ED has identified 13 properties belonging to other militant organisations. Attachments in six cases have already been executed by the agency, the report said.
The ED has also set up a special task force (STF) last month to deal with the rising illegal drug trade through the country’s borders, which is believed to be a source of funding for terrorist groups. The STF will be headed by a special director or an officer of equivalent rank and will comprise a joint director, deputy director and other officers.