Charges were today framed against a close aide of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and three others,arrested for allegedly running hawala racket to fund banned terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir Valley,by a Delhi court,paving the way for their trial.
District Judge H S Sharma framed charges under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Ghulam Mohd Bhat,said to be Geelani’s close aide,Mohd Siddiq Ganai,Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga,who are presently in Tihar jail under judicial custody.
“The charges have been explained to each accused in detail. They have pleaded not guilty,” the judge said adding the trial would commence from April 16.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had last year filed chargesheet against the four,indicting them for procuring over Rs 4.57 crore from Pakistan through hawala channels within three years after 2008 for funding terrorist activities in the Valley.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police,on January 22 last year,had arrested Srinagar-based lawyer Bhat,Ganai,Liloo and Dagga from Jammu and Kashmir on a tip-off that they were carrying hawala money,allegedly meant for terror outfits in the valley. It had also recovered Rs 21.20 lakh from them.
The case was later handed over to the NIA. During the probe,the NIA as well as the police had questioned Geelani,who had reportedly told the investigators that he was receiving funds from various sources but had no links with Bhat in hawala dealings.
The NIA,in its chargesheet,had said,”Funds through hawala channels were being sent to Jammu and Kashmir for funding terror and secessionist acts in the state and Pakistan-based Maqbool Pandit,a member of banned Hizbul Mujahideen and Aizaz Maqbool Bhat,at present living in Saudi Arabia,were the key accused behind it.”
It had added “the investigation had revealed that huge consignments” of funds have been collected at various places in Delhi and one of the accused,Mohd Sidiq Ganai was in touch with ISI operatives Major Iqbal,an accused chargesheeted for carrying out various terror strikes including the 26/11 Mumbai attacks,and Col Abdullah.
The NIA had analysed “intercepted call records” of various accused,based in Delhi and Pakistan.
It said Ganai,identified as an active member of People’s League,a constituent of Hurriyat led by Geelani,had gone to Pakistan in 1998 through Wagah border on Indian travel document and returned via Nepal on a Pakistani passport.
Detailing their modus operandi,the NIA had said Ganai developed a close relationship with Delhi-based Raj Kumar and his brother-in-law Rajeev Nankani and motivated them to collect money on their behalf from hawala operatives here.
“Between November 2008 to October 2010,only Raj Kumar collected Rs 2.25 crore in various instalments from hawala operators here,” the chargesheet had said.