NIA Tightens Noose Around Mehbooba Mufti

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Says PDP President Once Spoke To Hizb Militant Naveed Babu

New Delhi/Jammu: Former J&K Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti knew arrested Hizbul Mujahideen militant Naveed Babu and had also spoken to him once, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed in a chargesheet filed in connection with the case related to arrested former J&K DSP Davinder Singh.

This is for the first time that name of Mufti has come up in any of the cases being probed by the NIA in Jammu and Kashmir.

An NIA official related to the probe, according to news agency IANS said, “The name of the former Chief Minister has emerged in the case related to arrested DSP Davinder Singh and HM militant Naveed Babu.”

The NIA has filed a supplementary chargesheet against three persons, including arrested Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) youth wing chief Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra, who allegedly worked as a financier for Hizbul Mujahideen in connection with the case.

The official said that Mufti knew Hizb militant Naveed Babu and had even spoken to him once. However, the official refused to share more details.

The NIA in its supplementary chargesheet has claimed that Parra was part of the “conspiracy” to raise and transfer militancy funds to Hizbul Mujahideen militants for the procurement of  militant hardware and was also a crucial player in sustaining the political-separatist-militant nexus in J&K.

Parra was instrumental in the revival of the PDP in south Kashmir, especially in the militancy-affected Pulwama district.

Besides Parra, the NIA has also named two gun runners — Shaheen Ahmad Lone and Tafazul Hussain Parimoo — in connection with the case.

Suspended police officer Singh is currently lodged in Kathua jail at Hiranagar in Jammu division. He was arrested by the police on January 11 last year from the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway while transporting two Hizabul militants — Naveed Babu and Rafi Ahmad Rather — and a law school dropout, Irfan Shafi Mir, to Jammu.

After the arrest of Singh, initial investigations were done by the J&K Police before the case was handed over to the NIA. The police had said that the two militants and the lawyer had planned to travel to Pakistan.

The NIA had earlier claimed that its probe has revealed that the accused were part of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the Hizb and Pakistan to commit violent acts and wage war against India.

Mufti had recently skipped an Enforcement Directorate (ED) summon for questioning in connection with a money laundering probe.

Mehbooba Likely To Appear Before ED Today

Meanwhile PDP sources said Mehbooba Mufti will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Thursday in connection with a money laundering case.

The sources said Mufti will appear before the ED at its Srinagar office on Thursday to face questioning in the case.

The PDP president did not appear before the agency in Delhi on Monday, saying that she had prior commitments that could not be cancelled.

She requested the ED officials to question her in Srinagar and not in Delhi and her request was accepted, the sources said.

The 61-year-old leader, who was released last year after more than a year in detention following the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, was served a notice to appear at the ED headquarters in the national capital.

On March 19, the Delhi High Court had refused to stay summons issued to her after she moved the court seeking quashing of the summons in the case.

The ED, which had earlier summoned Mufti on March 15, had not insisted on her personal appearance at that time.

“I write to you in reference to the summons issued to me to be present at your Delhi office on March 22. I have challenged in the Delhi High Court the constitutional vires of Section 50 of the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act), under which these summons are issued,” she said in a letter to the ED.

Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the authority, that is, officers of the ED, to summon any person to give evidence or produce records. Persons summoned are bound to answer the questions put to them and to produce documents as required by the ED officers, failing which they can be penalised under the PMLA.

The PDP leader had said, “I state that I am not in a position to attend the summon on 22nd March as I have prior commitments that cannot be cancelled at such short notice”.

“If however you insist we must do it sooner, I am ready and willing to be questioned in Srinagar, preferably at my residence or through video conference from Srinagar,” Mufti had said in her letter.

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