A Delhi court on Wednesday framed money laundering charges against Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah and alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani in a 2005 case of alleged terror financing, reports PTI. Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma framed the charges to which both the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
The Enforcement Directorate had on September 23 filed the charge sheet against Shah accusing him being in touch with Pakistan-based terrorist Hafiz Saeed. The charge sheet also named Wani, who is in judicial custody along with Shah.
The court had taken cognisance of the over 700-page charge sheet which relied upon 19 witnesses. The central probe agency, in the charge sheet filed under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), had furnished Shah’s statements where he has allegedly told the investigators that he has “no source of income of his own” and that he does “not file any Income Tax Return (ITR).”
The probe agency had recorded the statement of 36-year-old Wani where he allegedly said that he came to Delhi from Srinagar “at the directions of Shah” sometime in April, 2003 and that was the first time he had met him. Wani was arrested by the ED on August 6 from Srinagar. The ED alleged that Wani was asked by Shah to “work for him (on a commission basis) in collecting hawala money from Delhi and deliver to him at Srinagar.”
The case dates back to August 2005 in which the Delhi Police’s Special Cell had earlier arrested Wani. Wani had then claimed that he had given Rs 2.25 crore to Shah, following which the ED had registered a criminal case under PMLA against the duo in 2007.
Wani was arrested with Rs 63 lakh, allegedly received through ‘hawala’ channels from the Middle East, and a cache of ammunition, on August 26, 2005. During questioning, he had allegedly told the police that Rs 50 lakh was to be delivered to Shah and Rs 10 lakh to
Jaish-e-Mohammad area commander in Srinagar, Abu Baqar, and that the rest was his commission.
In 2010, a Delhi court had cleared Wani of terror funding charges but had convicted him under the Arms Act.