IndiaTerror funding case: ED looks at role of Pakistan High Commission in disbursing funds
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NEW DELHI — It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check. An Indian Air Force pilot found himself in a dogfight last week with a warplane from the Pakistani Air Force, and ended up a prisoner behind enemy lines for a brief time. The pilot made it home in one piece, however bruised and shaken, but the plane, an aging Soviet-era MiG-21, was less lucky. The aerial clash, the first by the South Asian rivals in nearly five decades, was a rare test for the Indian military — and it left observers a bit dumbfounded.
Days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached a Gurgaon property worth over Rs 1 crore belonging to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in connection with its money laundering probe into allegations of terror funding through Hurriyat leaders, the agency is likely to attach more properties worth Rs 6 crore in the days to come.
The agency, in its probe, has found that Kashmiri separatists have allegedly received at least Rs 7 crore from across the border to fund unrest in India. Identifying the money as proceeds of crime, the ED has alleged that the funds were disbursed by conduits and the Pakistan High Commission in India. The agency has claimed this was substantiated through a document seized during searches at the residence of Ghulam Mohammad Bhatt, who worked as the cashier-cum-accountant with Watali.
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The Pakistan High Commission could not be reached for comment despite attempts by The Indian Express.
An SMS sent to a number identified by a High Commission official as that of the spokesperson did not elicit any response.
The ED case is based on a chargesheet filed by the NIA as part of its probe against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin, who, the agency has alleged, have been funding unrest in Kashmir through Hurriyat Conference leaders.
NIA had on Tuesday called Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for questioning in Delhi, but he did not appear citing a “security risk”.
The Indian Express had on March 9 reported that the ED had identified Watali’s properties and would soon attach them.
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“The document shows that Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was receiving money from Hafiz Saeed, from the ISI, from the Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi and also from a source based in Dubai. Watali was remitting the same to Hurriyat leaders, separatists and stone-pelters of Jammu & Kashmir,” the ED claimed in a statement.
It also said the document has been maintained in regular course of Watali’s business and is signed by him. “This document clearly shows that Hurriyat leaders were receiving funds from Pakistan through the officials of Pakistan High Commission and through Watali. The signature of 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,” the ED statement said.
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Watali, along with other nine accused initially arrested by NIA in the case, is currently in Tihar Jail.
“Accused Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali has been found to be involved in fund raising and as a financial conduit for Hurriyat leaders. 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. The secessionists instigate the masses to resort to violence, especially stone-pelting on the security forces at encounter sites and also after the Friday prayers. This is done willfully to create such circumstances which will arouse disaffection among the people of Jammu & Kashmir towards the Government of India,” the ED alleged.
The NIA in February 2018 had filed a chargesheet in the case against 12 people, including Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, both of whom are in Pakistan.
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A ragged encampment in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz is all that remains of a once-sprawling ISIS 'caliphate' declared in 2014 across large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq. © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited An illumination round lights up the battlefield as the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fire on ISIS militant positions in Baghouz, Syria, Monday The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been trying to crush holdout ISIS fighters for weeks but the mass outpouring of men, women and children from the riverside hamlet has bogged down its advance.
The agency had registered a case on May 30 last year against separatist 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 allegedly 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 — led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — and the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, an all-women outfit.
2019 Pulwama attack: A timeline
Feb. 14: The attack
Feb. 14: Indian PM Narendra Modi reacts
Feb. 14: US State Department condemns attack
Feb. 14: UN chief condemns attack
Feb. 15 onwards: State funerals and candlelight vigils are held
Feb. 15 onwards: Backlash across India
Feb. 16: India raises customs duty on Pakistan imports
Feb. 22: Govt withdraws security of separatist leaders
Feb. 18: Top JeM commander is killed
Feb. 19: Lt Gen KJS Dhillion issues warning
Feb. 19: Pakistan PM Imran Khan calls for dialogue
Feb. 21: Imran Khan puts army on standby to ‘respond’ to India
Feb. 22: SC orders Centre, 11 states to ensure safety of Kashmiris
Feb. 26: India carries out aerial strikes across Line of Control
Feb. 26: PM Modi's first public address after IAF aerial strikes
Feb. 27: Pakistan attempts to target military installations on the Indian side
Feb. 27: IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman captured by Pakistan military
Feb. 28: Imran Khan says Pak will release IAF pilot as a ‘peace gesture’
March 1: IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returns to India
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A woman has secured €63,000 damages at the High Court over negligence in her post-operative care at St James's Hospital in Dublin after the removal of a heart pacemaker. Concepta Anderson (58), of Sooey, Co Sligo, sued the hospital after she had an episode of syncope - heart stoppage leading to a blackout - and fell while in a hospital toilet on May 18, 2014. She was recovering from a procedure to remove her permanent pacemaker the previous day and awaiting the insertion of another. Ms Anderson suffered a head injury and has a permanent forehead scar as a result.
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