Days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a chargesheet against Hurriyat Conference leader Firdaus Ahmad Shah, accusing him of funding terror, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has called for a report to see if “a larger probe” is required and whether other Hurriyat leaders should be included in the ambit of the probe.
The MHA’s action comes after investigating officials pointed to a common link between funds allegedly received from Italy by Shah and funds used to set up a VoIP account used by the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack handlers.
“The MHA has called for a detailed report from the ED on charges of terror funding against a Hurriyat leader. This is to assess whether the material on record warrants a larger probe under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which is beyond the ED’s mandate,” said a Home Ministry source.
“The report from the ED has also been sought to ascertain whether the evidence gathered points to involvement of more Hurriyat leaders, and whether a probe should be initiated against them,” the source added.
MHA sources said that if there was enough material to warrant an investigation under the UAPA, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) could be asked to probe the matter.
Investigators have said that Shah received money from Western Union Money Transfer agent ‘Madina Trading’ in Brescia, Italy, from a sender identified as Javed Iqbal. Iqbal, identified as a Pakistani national, was also named as one of the 35 wanted accused in the 26/11 chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch.
However, the Italian police have since learnt that Iqbal’s identity may have been stolen when he used another money transfer agency in Pakistan.
According to the ED, Shah received over Rs 3 crore from Italy between 2007 and 2010, which was allegedly used for terror funding.
There are 300 instances of money transfers from Italy identified by the ED, sources said.