The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Riyaz Naikoo and nine others in a case of narco-terrorism in which money allegedly earned through heroin smuggling was funnelled into terror activities.
Apart from Naikoo, killed in an operation by security forces in May in Kashmir, the other chargesheeted have been identified as Hilal Ahmed Shergojri from Pulwama and Zafar Hussain Bhat from Anantnag—suspected to have fled to Pakistan. Bikram Singh, Maninder Singh, Ranjit Singh, Gagandeep Singh and Iqbal Singh from Amritsar, and Ranjit Singh and Jaswant Singh from Gurdaspur are also chargesheeted.
The case arose from Shergojri’s arrest by Punjab Police in April with Rs 29 lakh. The probe was later handed over to the NIA.
“During investigation…it emerged that accused Hilal, who had come to Amritsar to collect the amount of Rs 29 lakh, was a member of proscribed terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and a close associate of Riyaz Ahmed Naikoo, the then HM commander of Kashmir Valley. This led to busting of a major narco-terror module involved in smuggling and selling of heroin in India and channelising of drug proceeds to Pakistan through hawala and to the HM terrorists based in J&K,” the NIA said quoting its chargesheet.
The agency claimed its probe unearthed a conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based HM commanders and their associates in Punjab to support the terror infrastructure of HM in India by raising money through drug smuggling.
“During investigation, it emerged that the accused had received at least six consignments of heroin through Attari Indo-Pakistan Border in the garb of importing rock salt granules from Pakistan. Of these, money proceeds of five consignments were partly sent back to Pakistan through hawala operators while a substantial portion was channelised to HM terrorists in Kashmir through a network of OGWs and other associates. In July 2019, 6th consignment of around 532 kg of heroin was seized at Attari border and a separate case was registered, which was investigated and chargesheeted by NIA,” it said.
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