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ED under the FEMA imposes over Rs 14 lakh penalty on Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani

The case was taken up by the ED on the basis of an Income Tax Department complaint against Geelani

Hurriyat Conference leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been charged with a penalty of over Rs 14 lakh by the Enforcement Directorate under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for illegally possessing foreign exchange of USD 10,000.

The ED has also ordered confiscation of the forex of USD 10,000 (nearly Rs 6.8 lakh based on existing exchange rates) that were seized in the year 2002 from his premises during an Income Tax raid at his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area.

The case investigated by the ED under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) pertains to Geelani in illegal possession of foreign exchange.

The agency had issued a notice under various sections of FEMA to the 87-year-old separatist leader. Earlier, last year, the ED summoned Syed Ali Shah Geelani for adjudication proceedings related to the foreign exchange violation case.

The case was taken up by the ED on the basis of an Income Tax Department complaint against Geelani.

A similar proceeding against former Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik, who was recently booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and transferred to a Jammu Kot Balwal jail, is also underway.

According to recent reports, the Enforcement Directorate, which is also 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, are likely to attach the properties of these Kashmir separatists.

The ED had identified properties belonging to accused such as Zahoor Watali and some others associated with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. “These properties will be attached in due course,” an ED official had said.

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 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, son of the senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah 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.

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