The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached a Gurgaon property of Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali who is in Tihar jail on charges of funding terror.
The move is part of a multi-agency crackdown on people and organisations suspected of funding terrorists activities in the country, especially Kashmir. Top officials told ET that the National Investigative Agency (NIA) has identified 13 persons and the properties they have acquired through suspected tainted money, while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has quantified assets valued at over Rs 7 crore as proceeds of terror funding crimes.
Watali, who has been in jail since last year, has been charged with being a conduit for funnelling funds for terror-related activities in India. According to the officials cited earlier, documents seized by the NIA and ED reveal that Watali had been receiving money from Pakistan-based proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen’s chief Syed Salahuddin, Pakistan’s ISI and its high commission in Delhi.
The NIA got an insight into the funding network after recovering documents from the house of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, cashiercum-accountant for Watali. According to the officials, it showed a trend of Watali remitting cash to Hurriyat separatists and stone pelters. The papers were maintained in regular course of business and signed by Watali, said sources in the investigating agency. Watali’s signature has been verified by experts and matched with his admitted and specimen handwriting, it is learnt.
The sources said the funds were being used for “sessionism, terrorism and subversion”. Extensive use of funds is allegedly also being made to finance institutions focussed on subverting the local population, including through mosques, madrasas and organisations like Jamat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir), which was banned recently by the government for indulging in anti-India activities, the sources said. It would be then utilised to tap a fertile pool of vulnerable Kashmiris and others who could be used as fodder for destabilising the state, the sources added.
The NIA has named Watali, Hafiz Saeed and 10 others for funding terror in Kashmir and filed a chargesheet against them.