Srinagar, Feb 27: A day after the surprising raids on the residences of top separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, National Investigation Agency (NIA) while widening its ambit of raids today raided the residence of a civilian arrested after Lethpora attack.
The NIA sleuths also raided the house of Sajad Ahmed Bhat, the person whose car was used in the Lehtpora attack. Bhat has joined Jaish-e-Muhammad as his gun wielding picture went viral on social media recently.
Sources told KNS that NIA teams launched extensive raids on the residences of Suraj Manzoor Malik of Midoora Tral, a civilian, who according to locals was arrested by forces soon after the Lethpora attack.
“NIA sleuths also raided the residence of Sajad Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Marhama, Sangam in Anantnag district, whose vehicle was used in the Lethpora attack,” sources said.
The sources said that NIA has been given a “free-hand” to trace all the possible links of “money laundering and terror funding” in Kashmir. A source in the NIA told KNS that they are conducting raids at multiple places in Kashmir to collaborate evidences to get to the roots of “hawala money” links between Pakistan and the separatists.
On February 15, union home minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived in Srinagar to assess the security situation, had directed the security top brass to immediately withdraw the security of the separatists who were on the payrolls of Pakistan and ISI. Acting on his directions, the security of 18 separatists including Mirwaiz Umar was withdrawn. Sources said that NIA team has been directed to get to the root of the “possible funding” the separatists receive for running anti-India campaigns through protests and other means. “That’s why the bank account details of all the separatists whose houses were raided were seized to get to know the channels of funding and the amount they receive,” the source said, adding, that the “thorough investigations are being carried out to get to the bottom of the money laundering case.”
On Thursday, the NIA teams conducted multiple raids at the residence of seven separatist leaders and seized documents, electronic gadgets and also the “incriminating material including letter heads of militant groups.” NIA stated that at the residence of Mirwaiz at Nigeen, it seized hi-tech internet facility besides e-tablets etc.
The centre tightened noose on the separatists in the backdrop of deadliest suicide attack on the CRPF convoy at Lethpora in Pulwama district resulting in the death of 14 CRPF men and injuries to over two dozen others. The NIA is also probing the attack as it recently claimed to have identified the vehicle, Maruti Eco that belonged to Sajad Ahmed Bhat, who has joined Jaish.
In July 2017, NIA cracked its whip on the separatist leaders in connection with the money laundering case and arrested at least a dozen separatists including Hurriyat Conference (M) spokesman Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Muhammad Altaf Fantosh, Ayaz Akbar and others.