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Mirwaiz finally before NIA, but ‘not cooperating’: Sources

NEW DELHI

Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq on Monday appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) here in connection with its probe into the militant funding case but is not cooperating with the investigators, official sources said.

An NIA source privy to the investigation told IANS that the Mirwaiz, who leads the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, was asked about his connections with hawala operators and his contacts in foreign countries.

“As of now, he has been unable to give any proper reply,” the source said.

The source also said that the NIA officials also asked him about details of his bank accounts, his movable and immovable properties and his relatives residing in India and abroad and their businesses.

The source also said that the NIA team also sought answers to the documents and other incriminating materials seized from his residence during the raids on February 26 this year.

The source said that the Hurriyat leader may be questioned till 8 p.m.

Earlier in the day, the Mirwaiz arrived at the NIA headquarters amid security provided by the agency, right from his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International airport here.

He was accompanied by Hurriyat Conference leaders Abdul Ghani Bhat and Maulana Abbas Ansari.

The Mirwaiz, charged with involvement in the case, had earlier ignored two summons of the NIA, citing security reasons and seeking that he be questioned in Srinagar itself. However, the NIA, in its third summons on Friday, assured that it would ensure security to him in Delhi.

The NIA had registered the case of militant funding behind the violence in the Kashmir Valley in May 2017 and in July 2017, arrested Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.

Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Shahid-ul-Islam is an aide of the Mirwaiz, and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.

Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was also arrested in the case on August 17, 2017.

The probe agency had on January 18 last year filed a charge sheet against 12 persons including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others in the case.

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