Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son as well as the son of noted businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali have been listed among the "prosecution witnesses" by the National Investigation Agency in a case related to terror funding in the Kashmir Valley.
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son as well as the son of noted businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali have been listed among the “prosecution witnesses” by the National Investigation Agency in a case related to terror funding in the Kashmir Valley. The NIA, which filed a charge sheet in the case in January this year, have named Watali’s son Yasir Gaffar at serial number 30 and Geelani’s son Naim-ul-Zaffar at serial number 37 in the list of prosecution witnesses submitted to a special court. The NIA has also submitted eight-page and four-page statements given by Ghaffar and Zaffar respectively to an NIA official during the course of investigation. A statement given before a police official is not admissible as a primary evidence in the court.
The charge sheet has been filed by the NIA against 12 people, including Lashker-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen terror group’s head Syed Salahuddin. Both of them are in Pakistan. Ten people arrested by the NIA in connection with the case inlcude son-in-law of Geelani, Altaf Ahmed Shah, besides Watali. The probe agency registered a case against separatists in the Kashmir Valley on May 30 last year and also managed to secure confessional statements on the flow of money, especially from Pakistan, from some people related to the funding of terror activities in Kashmir.
Geelani’s son, who had fled the state to Dubai, London and later to Pakistan after he was threatened by counter-insurgents, had appeared before the NIA on many occasions. He gave a duly signed statement in which he gave several details, including the people he had met during his post-doctorate from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. Watali’s son also gave a detailed statement about the business of his father and his associates, the officials said.
The charge sheet also names 42 protected witnesses in its list of 232 people who would be examined during the proceedings. The witnesses have been protected under section 43(3) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act under which the name and address of the person is not mentioned during the court proceedings. Besides Shah and Watali, the NIA has arrested Geelani’s close aides Ayaz Akbar, who is also spokesperson of the hardline separatist organisation Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Peer Saifullah, Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesperson of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’, photo-journalist Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmed Bhat.
The NIA had registered a case on May 30 against the separatist and secessionist leaders, including unidentified members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organisations Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other outfits and gangs, officials said.
The case was registered for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and for causing disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on the security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India, the probe agency had said in the FIR.
The FIR had also named organisations such as the two factions of the Hurriyat, one led by Geelani and the other Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, an all-women outfit of the separatists. Kamran Yusuf and Bhat were released on bail last week by a special court.