New Delhi: The recently unearthed Hawala
trail in the Kashmir valley points to money being allegedly
passed to senior Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Shah
Geelani following which the separatist leader has been asked
not to leave Delhi to face investigations.
Sensing trouble, the Hurriyat faction led by Geelani,
who is leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, attempted to downplay the
investigations in the Hawala case and announced a bandh call
in the Valley on Tuesday for what they termed as "harassment of
their leader in Delhi."
Geelani`s close aide Ghulam Mohammed Bhat was arrested
from the Valley last month and Delhi Police and Jammu and
Kashmir police allegedly recovered Rs 21 lakh from him which
was supposed to be meant for distribution to separatist
leadership in the state.
Geelani had told the police team that his advocate
would be representing him at the police station, a plea which
was turned down by the team, official sources said.
During his interrogation, Bhat is alleged to have told
the police that he had passed money to several separatist
leaders including Geelani following which Delhi Police swung
into action on last Saturday and handed over a one-line notice to
him prohibiting him not to leave the city until he appeared
before the police station concerned for questioning.
However, a spokesman of the hardline faction of
Hurriyat Conference said if Geelani was being implicated in
the hawala case, it was an attempt to defame the movement in
Ayaz Akbar said the separatist conglomerate did not need
hawala money as it was getting enough funds from the people.
"We have baitulmaal (Islamic institutions for collecting
money) to take care of the money for carrying forward the
movement", he added.
Bhat, against whom five cases including running a hawala
racket are already under investigation, was arrested after he
was allegedly caught red-handed while receiving Rs 21 lakh.
Bhat was earlier arrested in 2008 in Udhampur district
while returning to the Valley with Rs 55 lakh alleged Hawala
money concealed in a gas cylinder.
Two other persons, one from Kupwara and another from
Sopore in north Kashmir, were also arrested in this case, the
sources said adding, more arrests were likely after Bhat`s