NIA Arrests Businessman Zahoor Watali


NIA Arrests Businessman Zahoor Watali
New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency on Thursday arrested Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali for alleged involvement in a terror funding case.

The NIA said Watali, who was arrested in Delhi, would be produced before the Patiala House court in Delhi on Friday. The agency had carried out raids in the premises of the businessman and of other suspects on Wednesday.

“The searches have unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to the receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to terrorists and separatists in Kashmir Valley for anti-India activities,” the NIA said in a statement.

It said that on 3 June 2017, the NIA had searched Watali’s house in Srinagar and seized incriminating documents pertaining to financial transactions and land deals. The property documents seized have shown huge amounts of cash transactions in sale and purchase, it said.

“Zahoor Watali, who is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to secessionists, terrorists and stone-pelters, was arrested in 1990 by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, when some anti-national activists were found in his house at Bagat Barzulla, Srinagar,” the statement said.

It said Watali was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months in Jammu. In 2009, Watali was accused of illegal land encroachment and assault, and a case was registered against him, it said.

“However, as per the orders of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir on 22 June 2016, the investigation of the case was stayed,” it said. Watali was also accused of travelling on a cancelled passport knowing that it was illegal, the NIA alleged. It said instead of surrendering the cancelled passport to the authorities, he travelled abroad on it on 21 March 2016, in violation of the law.

When he tried to do so again, his invalid passport was seized in Delhi by the authorities. A case of cheating under the Ranbir Penal Code and violation of the Passport Act were registered against him. The proceedings in the case are in abeyance as per the orders of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court at present, it said.

Officials in the central probe agency said the searches were carried out at 12 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla Kupwara, Pulwama and Handwara. “A lot of incriminating material, suspect financial records, property-related documents and electronic devices including mobile phones, pen drives and hard drives were seized during the searches,” a senior NIA official had said on Wednesday.

He had said some of the seized documents related to the receipt of money from “suspect” foreign sources and its subsequent distribution to “certain persons” in the Kashmir Valley. PTI

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