NIA finds no evidence of ‘terror funding’ in Kashmir: Report

Srinagar, Jun 29

A probe launched by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last year to probe the funding of pro-freedom leaders during last year’s pan-Kashmir agitation has failed to find any evidence and is “as good as closed”, Indian Express reported today.

Last August, following street protests that rocked the Valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the NIA initiated a preliminary enquiry to probe funding in the Valley, the report said.

A year down the line, the agency has found that all transactions through these bank accounts were legitimate and not connected in any way to terror funding, the report added.

“No evidence of terror funding or financial aid to stone-pelters has been found in that case. All bank accounts that were brought under the scanner have been found to have had legitimate business transactions. That case is as good as closed,” a senior NIA officer was quoted by the report as saying. The officer, however, said that the latest case of “alleged terror-funding of Hurriyat leaders”, registered by the agency recently, is “going strong” and may result in some arrests soon, the report said.

In last year’s case, the NIA probed transactions amounting to approximately Rs 38 crore from 17 accounts in four banks of south Kashmir for links to militants or pro-freedom groups, the report said. Over the year, NIA investigators tallied dates of withdrawal of money from these accounts with incidents of stone-pelting or road blockades in the Valley and conducted inquiries with holders of the suspect accounts, their relatives and bank officials to probe the source of funds. Nothing suspicious, sources said, has been found till date, the report added.

“The probe was based on an input provided by the Army that some bank accounts had suspicious transactions and withdrawals that coincided with incidents of stone-pelting in the Valley. A majority of these accounts were held by small businessmen in areas such as Kupwara and Pulwama in south Kashmir. In one case, sources said, the agency had found an account to be in the name of a plumber from Pulwama. This account received Rs 18 lakh over a period of three months, and was closed within four months after the entire amount was withdrawn in various instalments. However, the transactions have not been found to be linked to stone-pelting,” the report said.

“That is why the PE (preliminary enquiry) was never converted to an FIR,” an NIA officer told the newspaper.

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