NIA Court frames charges against ex-Minister, others

Terror funding case

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 27: Special Judge NIA Jammu Jatinder Singh Jamwal today framed charges against Jatinder Singh alias Babu Singh (former Minister), Mohd Shareef Shah, Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, Mubashir Mushtaq, Mohd Rafiq, Aijaz Ahmad Sayam, Farooq Ahmad Naikoo, Mohd Arshad and Syed Ashiq Elahi in terror funding case.
According to the challan, the case registered on 31.03.2022 in Police-Station Gandhi Nagar and subsequently the investigation was transferred to the State Investigation Agency (SIA) for carrying out an in-depth investigation. Besides the initial charge-sheet filed by the investigation agency on 24.09.2022, four supplementary charge-sheets have been filed so far in the case
In its fourth supplementary charge-sheet filed on 20.02.2024, the investigation agency has arraigned as many as six more persons as accused in the case taking the total number of accused persons to 18. Moreover, proceedings under Section 299 of CrPC were initiated against three out of the 12 accused persons (arraigned as accused in the initial and firstly supplementary charge-sheets) namely Mohd Hussain Khateeb, Kifayat Rizvi & Tariq Ahmad as they are presently settled in and operating from Pak occupied Jammu Kashmir.
Their presence could not be secured for the purpose of investigation and trial. Taking this into account coupled with the fact that arguments with respect to the six newly added accused persons yet to commence, framing of charges was confined only to nine accused persons.

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After hearing Special PP Anuj Gupta for the SIA, Special Judge NIA observed, “as far as question of commission of offences under Sections 16, 17 & 18 of the UA (P) Act is concerned, as already noticed, there is nothing in the vision-document or in the two videos relied upon by the prosecution evidence that the accused advocated the use of terrorism or any other kind of violence”.
“Rather, he is seen advising all the groups to shun militancy and adopt peaceful means for resolution of the Kashmir issue. It is, therefore, reiterated that there is nothing in the evidence to make out a credible case of conspiracy to commit the offence/s involving ‘terrorist act’ as contemplated under Section 15 of the UA (P) Act and made punishable under Section 16 of the Act”, the court said, adding “there is no accusation in the charge-sheet that accused persons had committed or conspired to commit ‘terrorist act’ as mentioned in Section 15 of the UA (P) Act”.
The accused number 2 is covered under Explanation Clause (c) appended to Section 17, which provides that whoever raises or collects or provides funds in any manner for the benefit of, or, to an individual terrorist, terrorist gang or terrorist organization for the purposes not specifically covered under Section 15 shall also be construed as an offence, the Special Judge said, adding “since the court has already come to the conclusion that the accused number 2 is neither working for furtherance of the terrorist activities of HM or for terrorism and the party founded by him cannot be categorized as ‘terrorist gang’, the commission of offence under Section 17 of the Act is also not established”.
Discharging accused number 2 of this offence, the court said, “he, however, prima facie appears to have committed the offences made punishable under Sections 10(a) fly) of the UA (PI Act read with Section 10(a) III) of the Act and the offence made punishable under Section 13 11) (a) and (b) of the UA (P) Act. He is, therefore, formally charge-sheeted for the commission of these offences”.
The court also charge-sheeted accused number one for commission of offence under Sections 13 (I) (b) of the UA (P) Act but discharged him of commission of offences under Section 17/18/20/21/39 & 40 of the UA (P) Act. “As far as accused Fayaz Ahmed Bhat is concerned, he received huge amount from unknown persons and distributed the same among the families of killed terrorists on the directions of accused number 5 in order to promote terrorist activities in the Valley”, the court added.
He also received a sum of Rs 4 lakh from accused number 11 and delivered Rs 3 lakh to one Muneer and retained a sum of Rs 1 lakh which he distributed among the members of Tehreek-e-Wahadat-e-lslaml, the court said, adding “he has also obtained pecuniary benefits from terrorist-organization and managed admission of his two children in a Medical College at Bahawalpur, Pakistan free of cost”.
“The accused number 4 appears to have raised funds for the benefit of terrorists, terrorist gang and terrorist-organization, as mentioned in Part C of the explanation Clause of Section 17 of the UA (P) Act and also associated himself with the terrorist organization – HM, besides setting up his own group”, the court said, adding “taking that into account and the facts and circumstances of the case, accused number 4 prima facie appears to have committed the offences made punishable under Sections 13 , 17 & 38 of the UA (P) Act. He is, therefore, formally charge-sheeted for commission of these offences”.
Similarly, other accused have also been charge-sheeted for the offences under Sections 13, 38 & 40 of UA (P) Act read with Section 120-B of IPC.