New Delhi: Devinder Singh Behal, a close aide of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, whose premises were raided by the NIA on Sunday in the J&K terror funding case, was allegedly in touch with people in the Pakistani high commission here and may have leaked national secrets, including Indian troop movement details, to the ISI.
“We suspect that Behal, who has been in close contact with people in Pakistan HC, was passing on classified information to alleged ISI moles, putting national security at risk. This is a serious offence and a potential ground to charge him under Section 121 of IPC (waging war against the state),” a senior NIA officer said.
Preliminary probe by the investigating agency found that Behal, who heads the Jammu & Kashmir Social Peace Forum and is also a member of the Hurriyat’s legal cell, has been publicly raising pro-azaadi slogans and exhorting Kashmiris not to let the “martyrdom” of militants go in vain.
In fact, in video clips of some of his speeches available on YouTube, Behal can be seen passionately raising ‘azaadi’ slogans and hailing ‘martyrdom’ of slain militants at their funerals, with the Pakistani flag visible in the background.
The NIA will question Behal and may move for his arrest soon. An NIA source said Behal had visited Pakistan at least 5-6 times. The investigators are still ascertaining the purpose of these frequent visits. Agencies believe that ISI may have ‘cultivated’ the Sikh leader in a bid to add weight and legitimacy to Kashmiri separatists’ demands. Behal, incidentally, has in speeches openly claimed that Sikhs had been standing solidly behind their Kashmiri “brothers”.
The NIA probe as well as raids found a balance of Rs 35 lakh in his bank account. “For an advocate with not too much practice, Rs 35 lakh is a rather high level of savings. NIA will question him on the source of these funds,” the officer said.