JAMMU, Nov 7: In a major crackdown on terror funding case in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Investigating Agency last night arrested nine persons including three hailing from the Kashmir valley and seized huge amount of Rs 36.34 crores in demonetized currency, which was one of the biggest haul of old notes during past one year. Four luxurious vehicles including two BMWs have been seized from the accused.
Sources told the Excelsior that the NIA, which has been investigating case related to financing of terrorist and separatist activities in the Kashmir valley in which number of top separatists and businessmen have been arrested, developed specific inputs that the financers of unrest in the Valley with the help of their associates from other States were in possession of cash running into crores and were trying to legalize it through different modes.
Last night, the NIA team intercepted the gang members at Jai Singh Road near Connaught Place, New Delhi and arrested six of them along with huge cash in demonetized currency. They were subjected to sustained interrogation during which they also disclosed names of their three more associates, who were also apprehended in no time.
Sources said a total of nine persons were arrested and demonetized currency amounting to Rs 36,34,78,500 was recovered from them. They had concealed the currency in 28 cartons filled with demonetized currency notes in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in four luxury vehicles.
After initial questioning, all nine accused have been arrested under case No. RC-10/ 2017/ NIA/ DLI in which several separatist leaders and businessmen of Kashmir have already been arrested and sent to jail.
Three Kashmiri accused, who have been arrested in the case, included Shahnawaz Mir, 45, R/o Khayyam Chowk, Srinagar, who also had a residence at Khirkee Extension, Malviya Nagar, Majid Yousuf Sofi, 26 R/o Al Farooq Colony, Anchidora, Anantnag and Umer Mushtaq Dar, 27, R/o Dangarpura, Pulwama.
Six other persons apprehended in connection with the recoveries have been identified as Pradeep Chauhan, 47, R/o Nangli Razapur, Sarai Kale Khan, New Delhi, Bhagwan Singh, 54, R/o Sainik Farm, New Delhi, Vinod Shreedhar Shetty, 47, R/o Shanti Nagar, Mira Road (East), Mumbai, Deepak Toprani, 60, R/o Premier Road, Vidya Vihar West, Mumbai, Ejazul Hassan, 38, R/o Sriram Colony, Rajiv Nagar, Hazuri, Delhi, who also owned another residence at Amroha, Uttar Pradesh and Jaswinder Singh, 53, R/o Hemchandra App, Civil Lines, Nagpur.
Four luxury vehicles including one BMW X3, One BMW X1, one Creta and one Ford Ecosport Titanium have been recovered from the accused, which were being used by them for transporting demonetized currency from one place to another to convert into valid currency using some illegal channels and sources.
Sources said the NIA got an input about illegal activities of the accused while investigating a case relating to the financing of terror activities in Kashmir valley.
During the probe, they said, it emerged that people and entities linked to separatists and terrorists were still in possession of a significant amount of demonetized currency notes that could not be converted into new ones during the time fixed by the Government as the cash had been generated through illegal means and might have been meant for funding terrorists and separatists in the Kashmir valley to fuel terrorism and unrest there.
“Surveillance was mounted on such persons and entities. This led to unearthing of a conspiracy wherein a gang of such persons were making an attempt to convert this demonetized money into valid currency (notes),” sources said.
This is for the first time since registration of Regular Case by the NIA in terror funding and hawala operations in the Kashmir valley that the agency has seized such a huge amount of cash in demonetized currency which the accused were trying to convert into valid currency.
“There was a strong possibility that huge part of currency might have come for terror and unrest funding in the Kashmir valley but due to sudden demonetization, the accused were unable to convert it into legal currency,” sources said, adding that they were making efforts to legalize the currency and use it for similar operations now.
Sources said the accused would be subjected to questioning on source of such huge cash in their possession.