In a major crackdown against those sponsoring terror in India, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has attached property of Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT’s chief Hafiz Saeed.
According to the agency, “We have attached a property worth Rs 1.03 crore of Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, a financial conduit, in the matter of terror financing by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-Ud-Dawa).”
India Today has learnt that the attached property is just few miles away from the national capital in Gurugram.
The attachment is part of the investigation that the agency is conducting against Srinagar-based businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Hafiz Saeed, Mohd. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen head Yusuf Shah alias Salahuddin and others.
The ED initiated the investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on a charge sheet filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Mohd Yusuf Shah alias Salahuddin, Aftab Ahmad Shah alias Shahid-Ul-Islam, Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Fantoosh, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate , Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peet Saifullah, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmad Bhat under IPC sections 120B, 121 & 121A, 1860 read with section 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.
“The accused Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali has been found to be involved in fund raising and as a financial conduit for Hurriyat leaders. The NIA investigation also revealed that the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and other secessionists instigate the general public, especially the youth, to observe strikes and issue directives to the masses to hold anti-India protests, demonstrations and processions through press releases, newspapers and social media,” said the agency.
The probe agency further during the investigation found that the secessionists instigate the masses to resort to violence, particularly stone pelting at security forces at encounter sites and also after the dispersal of Friday prayers. “This is done wilfully to create such circumstances which will arouse disaffection among the people of Jammu and Kashmir towards the Indian government,” said an officer.
According to the ED, it was revealed during the investigations that Hurriyat leaders are receiving funds from Pakistan through conduits and also from the Pakistan High Commission directly. It was substantiated by an incriminating document seized during the search from the house of Ghulam Mohammed Bhatt, who worked as the cashier-cum-accountant with Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali.
“The document shows that Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was receiving money from Hafiz Saeed, the ISI, Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi and also from a source based in Dubai,” added the office.
The ED claims, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was remitting the same to the Hurriyat leaders, separatists and stone-pelters of Jammu and Kashmir. “The said document has been maintained in regular course of his business and is signed by Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali himself. This document clearly shows that Hurriyat leaders were receiving funds from Pakistan through the officials of Pakistan High Commission and through Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali. The signature of Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali has also been verified and as per the expert report, his signature on the questioned document matches with his specimen handwriting as well as his admitted handwriting,” said the ED document, a copy of which was acquired by India Today.
Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali along with other nine accused are under Judicial Custody at Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi in the case investigated by NIA.
“Ongoing investigations conducted by ED has resulted in quantification of proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs. 7 Crore (approx.) . One immovable property of accused Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, located in Gurugram, having a value of Rs. 1.03 Crore has been attached provisionally under PMLA,” said the ED.
In continuation of their crackdown against terror funding, the ED is all set to attach 24 other properties linked to Srinagar based businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali and Hafiz Saeed. These properties are spread across Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country. The ED suspects a substantial part of the money came through Hafiz Saeed-led Hizb-ul Mujhahideen.