NIA grills Geelani’s sons in terror funding case

Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Shah

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday questioned Naeem and Naseem Geelani, sons of hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in connection with its ongoing probe into terror funding by Pakistan-based terrorist groups to stoke unrest in the Kashmir valley.

An NIA official, requesting anonymity, told IANS that the brothers appeared at the NIA headquarters in central Delhi past 10 a.m.

Beside Geelani’s sons, Ghulam Nabi Bhatt, a separatist leader, was also being questioned by the counter-terror agency.

On Saturday, the NIA had summoned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Noor Muhammad Kalwal to appear before it on Monday.

Kalwal, a close aide of JKLF chief Yaseen Malik, was one of the five militants released after the abduction of then Home Minister Mufti Sayeed’s daughter in 1989.

On Thursday and Friday also, the NIA had questioned Geelani’s sons for over seven hours.

This is the second time in a fortnight that the counter terror probe agency is grilling Geelani’s sons. The agency had asked them to bring certain documents related to financial transactions that have come under its scanner.

Naeem, a doctor by profession, is seen as Geelani’s natural heir while Naseem, the younger son, works at an agricultural university in Srinagar.

On Saturday, the NIA also carried out searches at the office of the company owned by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested on August 17 in Srinagar.

During the searches, the NIA recovered several incriminating documents pertaining to Watali’s financial transactions.

Watali was arrested from Srinagar, a day after the NIA searched multiple locations in the Kashmir Valley, including the businessman’s office and houses of his close relatives.

Watali, a prominent businessman close to separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was arrested on charges of acting as a conduit for passing money received from Pakistan to militants, separatists and stone-pelters in the Kashmir Valley.

On July 24, the agency arrested seven separatist leaders in connection with its probe into terror funding from Pakistan and militant groups based there.

The arrested separatists include Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Peer Saifullah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate.

They have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and waging war against India.

The NIA alleges that separatist leaders were receiving money from militant leaders in Pakistan including Hafiz Saeed, who heads the Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa and banned outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.