September 5, 2017 1:47:16 am
The NIA has summoned Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom for questioning in connection with its probe into a case of alleged terror funding through Kashmiri separatists. Qayoom has been asked to appear before NIA officers in Delhi on Wednesday, when he would be questioned on his links with Kashmiri separatists, his finances and various properties that he has amassed over the years, NIA sources said.
An NIA spokesperson confirmed that Qayoom has been summoned to Delhi. “You are acquainted with the circumstances of cases which are being investigated under chapter XII of the code of criminal (procedure). You are hereby required to appear before on Wednesday at NIA headquarters,’’ reads the NIA letter. NIA sources said that Qayoom has close links with the Hurriyat Conference and has in fact drafted its constitution. “His name cropped up during the interrogation of various accused we have arrested. We have learnt that he has moved money for Kashmiri separatists such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chief of the hardline faction. We have to verify all that information,” a senior NIA officer said. He added that Qayoom has been fighting legal cases, defending Hurriyat leaders and stone throwers in various cases registered against them. “He is an important cog in the Hurriyat wheel,” the officer said.
An NIA team is already camping in Srinagar even though officers deny there is any plan to arrest Qayoom as of now. “We will think of arresting him only after we verify the information we have and if he refuses to cooperate,” an NIA officer said. Qayoom has been a vocal supporter of the Kashmiri struggle and has hobnobbed with separatists and provided help to those agitating for freedom. The NIA has also prepared a list of several properties that the lawyer owns across Jammu and Kashmir and in Delhi.
The summons sent to Qayoom is part of the NIA crackdown on Kashmiri separatists who the agency suspects of disrupting harmony in the Valley with the help of financial support from terror groups based in Pakistan. The NIA has arrested eight people, including Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah and various Hurriyat office-bearers.
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