NEW DELH A number of Hurriyat Conference leaders arrested by the NIA in alleged militancy funding case accused the investigating agency on Wednesday of delaying the case, which also involves Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, whom India accuses of masterminding the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The NIA had accused Saeed and others, including Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin, of “conspiring to wage war against the government” and fomenting trouble in the Kashmir Valley.
Some of the accused arrested in the case, including Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Mohammad Akbar Khanday and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, besides hardline pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, told the court that their bail applications are pending for a long time and the probe agency was seeking repeated adjournments.
The submissions were made after the NIA sought adjournment on their bail matter on the ground that its Special Public Prosecutor was not available today.
Meanwhile, Naval Kishore Kapoor, an UAE-based businessman arrested in the case, requested through advocate Shariq Reyaz that his bail application be heard separately since allegations against him were different than the other accused persons.
The court had earlier allowed the Enforcement Directorate to quiz Kapoor after Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, who is representing the agency pro bono (without charging), told the court that his interrogation was required to unearth the money laundering and the money trail.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Advocate Rajat Kumar, appearing for Dar and other jailed accused, blamed the NIA for delaying the matter.
“I am pressing for the bail for my clients. Case is being delayed for some time now, only on the ground that Zahoor Watali’s (co-accused) bail is pending with the Supreme Court. My case is entirely different.
“The case is going on for last two years. Kindly give me an early date of hearing. For last several dates only adjournment is being sought continuously,” he told the court.
The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on April 6.
The NIA had earlier filed a charge sheet against the accused persons, also including Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin, in the case accusing them of “conspiring to wage war against the government” and fomenting trouble in the Kashmir Valley.
The 12,794-page charge sheet and annexure, also alleged that officials of the Pakistan High Commission here were passing on money through businessman Zahoor Watali, who has been arrested, to separatists. The separatist leaders have been accused of taking a cut before handing over the money to foment trouble.
Saeed has been accused of using the services of Watali for passing on the money to separatists and some individuals who were actively indulging in stone-pelting in various areas of the Valley, the NIA said in the charge sheet.
The agency has charged Pakistan-based terrorists Saeed and Salahuddin, besides 10 others with criminal conspiracy, sedition, and under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
All the 10 arrested accused are currently in judicial custody.
The agency has charged the Hurriyat leaders with acting under the overall guidance of and instructions from Saeed and Salahuddin, and their “Pakistani handlers”. They have been accused of plotting strategies to launch violent protests.
Saeed, Salahuddin and their Pakistani handlers informed people about the agenda of violence through “protest calendars”, the NIA said. These calendars were released through newspapers, social media and religious leaders, it said.
These acts were aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror and fear in Jammu and Kashmir, the NIA alleged in the charge sheet.