A Delhi court today allowed the Enforcement Directorate to quiz an UAE-based businessman arrested by the NIA in a terror-funding case involving Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
District Judge Poonam A Bamba granted two days to the ED to quiz businessman Naval Kishore Kapoor, who is currently lodged at the Tihar Central Jail.
The court took note of the submissions made by the ED’s special public prosecutor, Nitesh Rana,that Kapoor was required for interrogation and recording of his statement in a money laundering case, which is being probed by the agency in connection with the terror-funding matter.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had interrogated a Kashmiri businessman, Zahoor Watali, a co-accused in the terror-funding case, during an investigation into the matter under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for allegedly receiving funds from abroad.
In its application, moved through advocate A R Aditya, the ED told the court that Watali had “mobilised huge amount of funds in the guise of foreign remittance from unknown sources in India through/in association with one of his old associates Kapoor”.
“It is crucial to record the statement of the accused as the money laundering case is being investigated,” it said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had said Kapoor had entered into an agreement with Trison Farms and Constructions through its managing director, Watali, to take land in Budgam on lease.
Kapoor had remitted a total amount of Rs 5.579 crore in 22 instalments between 2013 and 2016 to Watali, it had said.
The said land did not exist in the name of the company and the agreement lacks legal sanctity, the anti-terror agency said.
The NIA had alleged that it was a ‘cover’ created by Watali to bring foreign remittance from unknown sources to India.
Watali, LeT chief Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin and others have been accused by the NIA of “conspiring to wage a war against the government” and fomenting trouble in the Kashmir valley.
In its charge sheet, the NIA has alleged that officials of the Pakistan High Commission here were passing on money to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir through Watali.
The separatist leaders have been accused of taking a cut of the money.
Saeed has been accused of using Watali’s services for passing on the money to the separatists and some individuals, who were actively indulging in stone-pelting in the valley.
The NIA has charged Pakistan-based terrorists Saeed and Salahuddin, besides 10 others, with criminal conspiracy, sedition and provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Besides Saeed, Salahuddin and Watali, it has named hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh and Bashir Ahmad Bhat in the charge sheet.
Hurriyat Conference leaders Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Mohammad Akbar Khanday and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal have also been charged by the agency in the terror-funding case.
Most of the accused are in judicial custody.
Two of the accused – freelance photo-journalist Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmad Bhat – both charged with stone-pelting on security forces, were granted bail by the court.
The ED had registered a case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act based on an FIR filed by the NIA.