ED Files PMLA Case Against Hafiz Saeed, Kashmir Separatists

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New Delhi: The ED has registered a money laundering case against terror groups and separatist organisations operating in Kashmir, including Pakistan-based LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and the Hurriyat Conference, to probe alleged funding received by separatists for carrying out subversive activities in the valley.

Officials said the central probe agency has booked a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) taking congnisance of a NIA FIR. The NIA had booked a case against certain accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in May and had carried out searches few days later at various locations in the Kashmir Valley.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), they said, will probe the ‘proceeds of crime’ and also alleged instances of terror financing by the people involved in this case and their associates. While the ED case has been registered against those named in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR, officials said it is quite possible that its probe may expanded to cover many others not named by it as of now.

While no separatist leader from the Kashmir Valley had been named in the FIR registered by the NIA, organisations like the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Lashkar-e-Taiba besides Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud Dawah Hafiz Saeed have been mentioned.

The ED is also expected to scan records and transactions of certain banks, money exchanges and hawala operatives based in the valley to take its probe forward. The NIA raids, early this month, were carried out following the questioning of three separatist leaders – Nayeem Khan, who was seen on television during a sting operation purportedly confessing to receiving money from Pakistan-based terror groups, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’ and Gazi Javed Baba of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, in the national capital last month.

The separatists were allegedly receiving funds from LeT chief Saeed to carry out subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley, including pelting stones at security forces, damaging public property and burning schools and other government establishments.