SMS, WhatsApp chats hint at nexus in terror funding case: NIA

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) SMS and WhatsApp chat records recovered during probe reveal the nexus between the accused, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in its chargesheet filed on Friday in connection with the terror funding case involving separatist leader Yasin Malik and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

“There was recovery of various SMSs, e-mails, WhatsApp chats and videos clearly indicating the nexus between the already charge-sheeted accused and the above five accused persons,” the agency said in a press statement.

The agency further said that 400 electronic devices along with 85 incriminating documents were seized, which became the basis of evidence against the accused persons along with the testimony of the 125 newly examined witnesses.

The chargesheet was filed before Special NIA Judge Rakesh Syal who will take cognizance of the said document on October 23.

The chargesheet, running into 200 pages, named Malik as well as the founder and President of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, Shabir Shah, Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi, All Party Hurriyat Conference General Secretary Masarat Alam and Rashid Engineer.

Malik was produced before the court while others were to be produced later when the anti-terror agency submits the chargesheet in the case before the special NIA court of Rakesh Kumar Syal.

Malik was arrested on April 4 for his alleged role in fomenting unrest in Kashmir during separatist agitations in 2010 and 2016, which was triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Submitting the chargesheet, the agency said fresh materials have surfaced in the form of social media evidence, call records, oral and documentary evidence.

“New materials show the relationship of the persons chargesheeted with Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jama”at-ud-Da”wah, and Syed Salahudeen, the head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen,” the NIA said.

The court will take cognizance of the matter on October 23.

The NIA in 2017 arrested several separatists belonging to the two factions of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for terror funding.

In its first chargesheet filed last year, the agency named Geelani”s son-in-law Altaf Fantosh, Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali, Naeem Khan, Raja Mehrajudin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmed Bhat alias Peer Saifullah, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid ul Islam, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate, Mohammad Akbar Khandey alias Ayaz Akbar and Javed Ahmed Bhat, among others.

The NIA had registered the case in May 2017 against various separatist leaders who were acting in connivance with terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Dukhtarane Millat and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for collecting funds through illegal means for funding terrorist activities and stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir.

–IANS

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