New Delhi: Charges were on Saturday framed against
a close aide of hardliner Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani
and three others, arrested for allegedly running hawala racket
to fund banned terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir Valley, by a Delhi court, paving the way for their trial.
District Judge H S Sharma framed charges under various
sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against
Ghulam Mohd Bhat, said to be Geelani`s close aide, Mohd Siddiq
Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga, who are
presently in Tihar jail under judicial custody.
"The charges have been explained to each accused in
detail. They have pleaded not guilty," the judge said adding
the trial would commence from April 16.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had last year
filed charge sheet against the four, indicting them for
procuring over Rs 4.57 crore from Pakistan through hawala
channels within three years after 2008 for funding terrorist
activities in the Valley.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police, on January 22 last year,
had arrested Srinagar-based lawyer Bhat, Ganai, Liloo and
Dagga from Jammu and Kashmir on a tip-off that they were
carrying hawala money, allegedly meant for terror outfits in
the valley. It had also recovered Rs 21.20 lakh from them.
The case was later handed over to the NIA. During the
probe, the NIA as well as the police had questioned Geelani,
who had reportedly told the investigators that he was
receiving funds from various sources but had no links with
Bhat in hawala dealings.
The NIA, in its charge sheet, had said, "Funds through
hawala channels were being sent to Jammu and Kashmir for
funding terror and secessionist acts in the state and
Pakistan-based Maqbool Pandit, a member of banned Hizbul
Mujahideen and Aizaz Maqbool Bhat, at present living in Saudi
Arabia, were the key accused behind it."
It had added "the investigation had revealed that huge
consignments" of funds have been collected at various places
in Delhi and one of the accused, Mohd Sidiq Ganai was in touch
with ISI operatives Major Iqbal, an accused charge-sheeted for
carrying out various terror strikes including the 26/11 Mumbai
attacks, and Col Abdullah.
The NIA had analysed "intercepted call records" of various
accused, based in Delhi and Pakistan.
It said Ganai, identified as an active member of People`s
League, a constituent of Hurriyat led by Geelani, had gone to
Pakistan in 1998 through Wagah border on Indian travel
document and returned via Nepal on a Pakistani passport.
Detailing their modus operandi, the NIA had said Ganai
developed a close relationship with Delhi-based Raj Kumar and
his brother-in-law Rajeev Nankani and motivated them to
collect money on their behalf from hawala operatives here.
"Between November 2008 to October 2010, only Raj Kumar
collected Rs 2.25 crore in various installments from hawala
operators here," the charge sheet had said.