A Delhi court on Tuesday began the trial of a close aide of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and three others for allegedly running a hawala racket to fund terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir.
District Judge (DJ) HS Sharma commenced the trial with recording of the statement of a formal prosecution witness and Delhi Police Inspector Kailash Singh Bisht of Special Cell.
In his deposition, Bisht apprised the court of information on which accused were arrested.
He deposed that Geeani’s alleged close aide Ghulam Mohd Bhat and three others, Mohd Siddiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga were arrested on a tip-off that they were raising funds for the banned terror group.
Bisht said in last week of December 2010, they received the information that money was being sent from Pakistan to Jammu and Kashmir through Hawala channel following which a police team, constituted to probe the case, arrested the accused from J&K.
The court recorded Bisht’s statement and posted the matter for further recording of statement on Wednesday.
The court had framed charges against all the four accused under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on March 3.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) last year had filed the chargesheet against the four, indicting them for procuring over Rs4.57 crore from Pakistan through hawala channels within three years after 2008 for funding the 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 J&K on a tip-off that they were carrying hawala money, allegedly meant for the terror outfit. It had also recovered Rs 21.20 lakh from them.
The case was later handed over to the NIA and during the probe, 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 the hawala dealings.
The NIA had said funds through hawala channels were being sent to Jammu and Kashmir for funding terror acts there and Pakistan-based Maqbool Pandit, a member of banned Hizbul Mujahideen and Aizaz Maqbool Bhat, presently in Saudi Arabia, were the key accused behind it.
The NIA had alleged that huge funds were 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, for generating fund.
The NIA had analysed and “intercepted call records” of various accused, based in Delhi as well as in Pakistan.
It had 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, Raj Kumar alone collected Rs2.25 crore in various instalments from hawala operators here,” the charge sheet had said.