NIA again conducts raid; seizes cross-LoC trade record in Poonch

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 11: The National Investigating Agency (NIA) today once again conducted raid at Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district and seized some records for scrutiny even as cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) continued uninterrupted on Poonch-Rawlakote route during the day.
Headed by Inspector General of Police (IGP), NIA, Viplov Kumar, an IPS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, the NIA team was expected to camp in the border district of Poonch for couple of days to examine the record and quiz some people, if required.
Sources told the Excelsior that the NIA team from its headquarters in New Delhi proceeded to Poonch this morning and seized record pertaining to cross-LoC trade of some businessmen. The NIA team remained stationed at the Trade Facilitation Centre throughout the day seeking record.
However, the investigating agency, which had simultaneously conducted raids at TFC Poonch and TFC Salamabad in Uri district of Kashmir on December 18, 2016, hasn’t called any cross-LoC trader or official for questioning so far, sources said but added that the questioning of some of the traders and officials wasn’t ruled out.
The cross-LoC trade takes place four days of every week from Tuesday to Friday on both the routes of Poonch-Rawlakote and Uri-Muzaffarabad. The trade continued uninterrupted despite the NIA presence at the Trade Facilitation Centre today. The trucks crossed LoC as usual carrying goods on both the sides, sources said.
The NIA had developed specific inputs that some of the traders were misusing barter facility to pump money to fuel militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
The NIA has registered First Information Report (FIR) under Regular Case 17 of 2016 in New Delhi following very credible and specific inputs that some of the traders were getting extra goods from PoK and part of the money generated from them was being pumped into the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“This was allegedly being done in-league with the terror networks of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), who have their cadre in both parts of the divided States i.e. Jammu and Kashmir and PoK,” sources said.
They added that the NIA had earlier seized entire record of 303 firms, dealing in cross-LoC trade on Poonch-Rawlakote route, which would be used to identify the traders, who had misused cross-LoC trade facility and generated funds for the anti-national activities. Entire record of the cross-LoC trade since 2009 has been seized by the NIA team.
The investigators reportedly have inputs that some fictitious firms have been floated by the traders, whose accounts would be searched in the banks. The banks are likely to be approached for bank account statements.
The NIA during earlier raids had recorded the statements of some of the officials dealing with cross-LoC trade and could take statements of more officials and traders during their current visit to Poonch district, sources said.
“There were reports that some of the traders in Jammu and Kashmir have grown rich manifold with their banking transactions and assets multiplying after they started dealing with cross-LoC trade,” sources said, adding there were very genuine concerns that the trade was misused by some of the traders to pump funds into the militancy.
Sources said the modus operandi being looked into the cross-LoC trade at both the centres was that under the barter system, some of the traders exported less quantity of goods but, in return, were given high quantity of good items from PoK traders on the directions of the militants.
The part of extra amount generated by the traders on this side of Jammu and Kashmir from additional goods was pumped into militancy while rest was kept by the traders for them as reward for helping militants. Under the barter system, the traders had to import goods of the same amount which they had exported to other side.