98 held for pumping hawala money in J&K since 2009

Srinagar: Security agencies have arrested 98 persons and seized over Rs one crore since 2009 as part of efforts to check pumping of hawala money into Jammu and Kashmir for funding secessionism and militancy.

The arrests were made in connection with the Hawala money over the past two and a half years and Rs 1.23 crore in Indian currency were recovered from them, the state government today informed the Legislative Assembly.

Of the arrested persons, 48 were found misusing trade across the Line of Control (LoC) and Rs 73,34,410 along with encashed cheque worth Rs one lakh have been recovered from them.

The highest number of 66 arrests were made in 2009 and Rs 77 lakh was recovered that year. Only 15 persons were arrested and nearly Rs 10 lakh seized from them in 2010 - the year when Kashmir witnessed massive separatist sponsored protests ringing normal life to almost standstill between June and October, leaving nearly 120 persons dead.

As many as 17 persons were arrested till July this year and Rs 36,17,000 were recovered from them, the government said replying to a question by Chaman Lal Gupta (BJP) regarding recovery of hawala money in the state.

The money was meant for Hurriyat Conference, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Islamic Students Front, Mass Movement, Peoples Conference, Mahaz-e-Azadi and Democratic Freedom Party besides militant outfits - Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashker-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al-Badr, Harkat-ul- Mujahideen, Al-Umer, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Al-Burq and Islamic Front.

In addition to Indian currency, the agencies recovered 73,500 (Saudi Riyal), five Euro notes of 500 denomination valuing Rs 1.50 lakh, 2000 UK pounds and cheques worth Rs 50,000.

The government said a number of steps have been taken to check the menace of hawala money which is being generally used for carrying out terrorist and separatist activities in the state.

"Intelligence agencies have been tasked to collect information through various means and action is being taken on the information," the government informed the House.

It said modern equipment are being installed on the Line of Control (LoC) to check the hawala transactions.

Financial agencies have also been provided necessary guidelines to track and check suspicious bank accounts, it said, adding every possible effort is being made to plug the infiltration routes.

Nakas are being established at various places for effective checking of hawala transactions, it added.