June 5, 2018 6:06:29 pm
NIA special court convicted three accused in a 2011 terror funding case and on Monday sentenced them to period already undergone after they pleaded guilty for their crime. District and Sessions Judge (DSJ) Poonam Bamba on Monday sentenced Mohammad Sadiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga for the offences punishable under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The main accused, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat did not plead guilty and is currently in jail undergoing trial. It is the same case in which Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s 41-year-old son Shahid Yousuf, was arrested in 2017. An employee in the agriculture department, Yusuf allegedly received a few lakh rupees through an international wire transfer company. NIA has filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case this month and Yusuf is currently in jail. M M Pandit and Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, also chargesheeted, haven’t been arrested.
During arguments on sentencing, Special Public Prosecutor, NIA submitted that the convicts had voluntarily come forward to plead their guilt and thus they have expressed their repentance for their acts. “Such an act of repentance of the convicts is a step towards reconnecting with the society…convicts have been facing trial for more than seven years. Therefore, this court may consider taking a lenient view, while passing the sentence,” the prosecutor said.
Defence counsel Moinuddin Ansari said that convicts got “involved” in the unlawful activities due to misguidance. “However, on realising their mistake they came forward to admit their guilt. They now wish to lead a clean life…they are in judicial custody since 22.1.2011. By pleading guilty they have saved precious time of the court and that of the prosecuting agency,” Ansari said.
DSJ Poonam Bamba said that by admitting their guilt, the convicts had admitted to the prosecution version that pursuant to criminal conspiracy, they collected funds received through illegal hawala channels from Pakistan via Delhi to be sent to J&K for the purpose of promoting unlawful activities in the state. “The convicts have been the member of terrorist organisations/associated with the activities. It could on account of misguidance and other attending facts and circumstances as plead…the fact that they have chosen to plead guilty is a sign of their repentance. The convicts seem to have realised their mistake and appear to be sincerely repenting for their acts and deeds…the convicts should get an opportunity to reform themselves and be a good citizen of this country,” the court said.,
According to the court records, it was learnt through “reliable sources” that funds from Pakistan were being sent to J&K through Hawala channels via Delhi for funding “terrorism” and “secessionist” activities. “On the basis of this information certain telephone numbers were taken on a lawful interception and sources were deployed…it was revealed that one Maqbool Pandit, a member of the banned terrorist outfit, Hizb-Ul-Mujahideen bases in Pakistan was sending a huge amount of funds to the secessionist and terrorists, based in J&K via Delhi,”
According to the charge sheet on January 22, 2011, a trap was laid at Bemina bypass chowk, Srinagar where the police seized hawala money of Rs 20 lakh from Bhat, Rs 10,000 from Liloo and Dagga and one lakh from Ganai.
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