Following months of investigations into networks of terror funding in Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has prepared a dossier on how cross-LoC trade has become a source of such illicit funds and security threat posed by such trade. The NIA will soon send this report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, sources in the agency said.
The NIA has been conducting a widespread probe into terror funding and alleged flow of money from Pakistan-based terror groups to Kashmiri separatists for fomenting trouble in the Valley. The agency is interrogating seven Kashmiri separatists, including the son-in-law of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on these charges and claims to have built up credible evidence of terror funding over the past couple of months.
It has alleged that not only is money coming from Pakistan via Dubai with the help of hawala traders to fund stonepelting and other terror activities in the Valley, but even cross-LoC trade networks are being used to move tainted money.
As part of confidence building measures in the Kashmir region, the government in 2008 had allowed trade of 21 items through barter on the LoC. This trade largely happens through Salamabad and Chakkan Da Bagh trade facilitation centres (TFCs).
NIA has alleged in its report that there is largescale under-invoicing and over-invoicing of products like California almonds, shawls, pulses etc. The agency claims it is not just hurting the business of other traders but also giving a window for moving money illegally. It has alleged that many traders engaged in LoC trade are actually fronts for terror organisations.
Notably, NIA had in 2013 filed a chargesheet against 10 people in a case of terror funding against Hizbul Mujahideen. The agency had made similar allegations then.
The NIA had said that active Hizbul terrorists, who have crossed over to Pakistan in the garb of traders, are also involved in trade across the LoC and misuse it to send money and weapons to the Indian side from PoK and Pakistan and some truck drivers are also involved in the activity.
“Investigation has revealed that HM is exploiting the barter system in vogue at the trans-border trade to pump funds for terrorist activities,” the chargesheet said. NIA is now considering suggesting the government to have a rethink on the LoC trade and its benefits to India. A senior official, however, said no decision on the same has been taken so far.