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NIA Raids Salahuddin’s Kashmir Residence in Terror Funding Case

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National Investigation Agency
National Investigation Agency team. IANS

New Delhi, October 26: The NIA on Thursday carried out searches at the residence of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in Kashmir valley in connection with a six-year-old terror funding case.

An NIA official told IANS, “The agency carried out searches at the residence of Shahid in Soibugh village of Budgam district early in the morning today (Thursday) which has concluded now.”

“We have seized mobile phones, laptops, hard disks and several incriminating documents.”

The raid comes two days after the counter-terror probe agency arrested Shahid, 42, a state government employee, in Delhi after he was called for questioning at its headquarters in a 2011 terror funding case that pertains to terror money sent through hawala channels by militants based in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to Jammu and Kashmir to instigate terrorist activities.

The NIA has alleged that Shahid over the years has been receiving and collecting funds through international wire money transfer from Hizbul Mujahideen militant Aijaz Bhat, a Srinagar resident now based in Saudi Arabia.

Shahid even during his questioning admitted having received funds from the members of Hizbul Mujahideen in the direction of his father. He had also revealed the names of his associates abroad associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen and involved in raising, collecting and transferring funds from abroad to India.

After his arrest, the NIA said Shahid was one of Aijaz Bhat’s several contacts who were in telephonic touch “to receive the money transfer codes”. The money was meant to fund Hizbul Mujahideen’s militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA had filed two charge sheets against six accused in the case in 2011. Four of them – Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, one of the closest aides of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mohammed Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmad Dagga – are currently in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

Two of the accused, Mohammad Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Bhat, are on the run and have been declared proclaimed offenders. Pandit, like Aijaz Bhat, has been an active Hizbul Mujahideen militant and is currently based in Pakistan.

Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, Ganai, Liloo and Dagga were arrested on January 22, 2011, and Rs 21.20 lakh was recovered from them.

After their arrest, Aijaz Bhat used to send money to Shahid.

The Hizbul Mujahideen chief’s son, according to an NIA official, received at least four installments of money in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.(IANS)

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Will India be able to get hold of Zakir Naik? India to now seek Interpol’s help locating the Controversial Islamic Televangelist

Naik, 51, came under the Indian government’s radar after Bangladesh media reported that at least two perpetrators of a terrorist attack at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery café, where 20 hostages were killed in July 2016, were influenced by his sermons

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Zakir Naik
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik speaks to Indian journalists in Mumbai during a video conference, July 15, 2016. Benar News

Mumbai, October 29, 2017 : India plans to ask Interpol to help track down Zakir Naik, an Islamic preacher accused of making inflammatory speeches that inspired attackers at a Bangladesh café in July 2016, an official said Friday, one day after the cleric was charged with inciting communal hatred.

In a charge-sheet filed in a Mumbai court late Thursday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleged that televangelist Zakir Naik was involved in a criminal conspiracy to foment terrorism and hatred among religious communities by lauding terrorist outfits.

The 61-page document viewed by BenarNews also accused Naik’s now-forbidden Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and his company Harmony Media Pvt. Ltd. (HMPL) of forwarding his agenda.

Naik, 51, came under the Indian government’s radar after Bangladesh media reported that at least two perpetrators of a terrorist attack at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery café, where 20 hostages were killed in July 2016, were influenced by his sermons.

ALSO READ NIA to file Chargesheet against Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik

“We are already preparing papers to get him deported back to India,” an NIA official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity. Naik, who left the country in June 2016, is believed to be traveling between the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president on Friday defended Naik against the charge sheet filed in India, the Malay Mail reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” Hadi said in an opinion piece on Islamophobia published in Harakah Daily.

Naik had been scheduled to appear at a PAS-organized gathering of Muslim scholars in Malaysia’s Kelantan state in July, but cancelled after India revoked his passport.

Arrest warrant issued in April

In April, the Mumbai court issued a so-called non-bailable arrest warrant against Naik after he repeatedly ignored summons issued by India’s Enforcement Directorate to appear to respond to allegations of misuse of foreign funds donated to his NGO.

The Indian government imposed a five-year ban on IRF in November 2016, citing violations by the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

“Since the money-laundering case against Naik hinged on the NIA investigation, it was necessary that the agency filed its charge-sheet,” public prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar told BenarNews.

The NIA’s charge-sheet will allow the agency to approach Interpol for assistance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can then initiate the process of bringing Naik back, Venegaonkar said.

ALSO READ Enforcement Directorate (ED) files Money Laundering Case against controversial Preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

The NIA accused Zakir Naik of praising late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, supporting suicide attacks and denouncing Hindu gods during sermons delivered through Peace TV. The channel partly funded by the IRF is banned in several countries, including India and Bangladesh.

The NIA has “firmly established that the incriminating public speeches have been in circulation through electronic media such as CD/DVD and web portals Facebook/YouTube etc.,” the charge-sheet said.

“The minutes of IRF board of trustees’ meeting disclose that IRF has approved, organized, promoted and funded public lectures of accused Zakir Naik, including his incriminating speeches. The seized material such as DVD and books list IRF as the publisher,” it said.

The agency also established the role of HMPL in editing the incriminating material and “forwarding [Naik’s] speeches to the Global Broadcast Corporation Dubai for broadcast in the Peace TV.”

“The derogatory and malicious remarks were not just confined to faiths and beliefs of Hindus or Christians but also included non-Wahabi Muslims, particularly Shia, Sufi and Barelwis,” the NIA said.

The charge-sheet cited cases of several youths who were allegedly influenced by Naik’s sermons and attempted to join the Islamic State.

The accused “never included any reference to alternative interpretations by Muslim scholars of the views he presented nor sought to mitigate the potential offence by providing sufficient context for his remarks,” it said.

Lawyer prepared to challenge extradition

Zakir Naik’s lawyer S. Hariharan said he would wait to decide the next course of action.

“I have yet to receive the charge-sheet. Although as per protocol the charge-sheet is handed to the accused. But in this case, the accused is not present in the country,” Hariharan told Benarnews without divulging Naik’s current location.

“We will most certainly be seeking discharge after we receive the charge-sheet and will also challenge demands for extradition,” he added. (Benar News)

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Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Salahuddin’s Son sent to NIA custody

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Hizbul Mujahideen
Hizbul MujahideenSyed Salahuddin addressing news conference in Muzafarabad, capital of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. VOA

New Delhi, October 25: A court here on Wednesday sent Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid, arrested in a six-year-old terror funding case, to NIA custody till November 1.

Shahid, 42, a Jammu and Kashmir government employee, was arrested here on Tuesday after he was called for questioning at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters.

He was presented before District Judge Poonam Bamba, who during in-camera proceedings, allowed the NIA to quiz Shahid to uncover his terror links.

The NIA has sought the custody on the grounds that it needs to interrogate Shahid to unearth a criminal conspiracy of raising funds by terror organization Hizbul Mujahideen and Shahid’s role in it.

The agency told the court that Shahid was collecting funds from Aijaz Bhat, a Srinagar resident now based in Saudi Arabia and a Hizbul Mujahideen militant, on the direction of his father Salahuddin, who is on the run.

Shahid over the years has been receiving and collecting funds through international wire money transfer from Bhat, an NIA statement said.

The NIA said Shahid was one of Bhat’s several contacts who were in telephonic touch “to receive the money transfer codes”. The money was meant to fund Hizbul Mujahideen’s militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA has seized Shahid’s mobile phone and sent it to a forensic lab for analysis, whose report is awaited.

Shahid, who lives with his family in Soibugh village of J&K’s Budgam district, works as a village agricultural assistant in the state Agriculture Department. His contractual job was confirmed by the government in March this year.

The 2011 terror funding case pertains to terror money sent through hawala channels by militants based in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA had filed two charge sheets against six accused in the case in 2011. Four of them – Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, one of the closest aides of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mohammed Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmad Dagga – are currently in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

Two of the accused, Mohammad Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Bhat, are on the run and have been declared proclaimed offenders. Pandit, like Aijaz Bhat, has been an active Hizbul Mujahideen militant and is currently based in Pakistan.

Aijaz Bhat, according to NIA records, received arms training with the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the early 1990s.

He never returned to Srinagar and began working for the militant group in Pakistan. He is said to have stayed in Sialkot before shifting to Saudi Arabia for generating funds for the group’s activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

An NIA official said the agency, through phone records, found that he was in touch with Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, a Srinagar-based lawyer, in 2011.

According to NIA, the lawyer separatist had procured over Rs 4.50 crore from Pakistan through hawala channels within three years after 2008 for funding militant activities in the Kashmir Valley.

Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, Ganai, Liloo and Dagga were arrested on January 22, 2011, and Rs 21.20 lakh were recovered from them.

After their arrest, Aijaz Bhat used to send money to Shahid. The Hizbul founder’s son, according to an NIA official, received at least four installments of money in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Shahid is the third son of Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council, the amalgam of Kashmir militant groups based in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan.

Salahuddin unsuccessfully fought the 1987 Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. He then crossed over to Pakistan and founded the Hizbul Mujahideen — the largest militant group in Jammu and Kasmir. Salahuddin has five sons and two daughters, who are all employed by the state government.

Shahid’s arrest — it is the first time any member of Salahuddin’s family has been arrested — comes a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced the decision to start a dialogue process in Jammu and Kashmir and named former Intelligence Bureau Director Dineshwar Sharma to talk to all stakeholders. (IANS)

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NIA to file Chargesheet against Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik

As per officials, all formalities to file the chargesheet against Naik have been completed and will be duly submitted before a special court within this week

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Zakir Naik
Zakir Abdul Karim Naik is an Indian Islamic preacher, and the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 24, 2017: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is all set to charge sheet the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for his alleged involvement in money laundering and terror funding activities in India.

As per officials, all formalities to file the charge sheet against Naik have been completed and will be duly submitted before a special court within this week.

The evangelical preacher with an active television presence first came under the lens of security forces following confessions by some terrorists in Bangladesh allegedly involved in the attacks on a café in Dhaka in last July. The perpetrators had claimed that they were reportedly inspired by Naik’s hate speeches.

Following the allegations, the Islamic –preacher had fled from India on July 1, 2016, and continues to live outside the country.

Consequently, on November 18, 2016, the NIA had registered a case in its Mumbai branch against Zakir Naik under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.  Previously, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Zakir Naik’s NGO based in Mumbai has also been declared an unlawful organization as per the directives of the Union Home Ministry.

It was alleged that Zakir Naik and his connections were allegedly indulging in ‘unlawful activities’ that were proving to be hazardous for the country and its youth.

In an official statement in April this year, the Enforcement Directorate had said that Zakir Naik “through his provocative utterance (is) promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India.”

The statement had also said that “His inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist acts.”

All these charges were repeatedly denied by Naik.

Additionally, the Ministry of External Affairs also revoked Zakir Naik’s passport on behest of the NIA earlier this year.

The NIA had also thrice issued notices to Zakir Naik to cooperate and join the investigations. However, he did not comply and did not appear before it.

ALSO READ Special NIA Court issues non-bailable warrant against Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik for his role in a Terror case

Zakir Naik’s NGO has been alleged to hold ‘dubious’ links to an international Islamic TV channel ‘Peace TV’ accused of propagating terrorism. Naik was also alleged to have to transferred IRF’s international funding to the TV channel to make ‘objectionable’ programmes.

As per the Home Ministry, Zakir Naik has made multiple hate speeches that provoke people to engage in terrorist propaganda. It has been previously revealed that a handful of Indian youth allegedly inspired by Naik, have left their homes to join Islamic State forces.

Zakir Naik’s speeches are banned in US, Malaysia, and Canada.

The televangelist, who had fled the country in July last year after his name had surfaced during a probe into the Bangladesh terror attacks, continues to live in Saudi Arabia and is now being probed by the NIA under charges of money laundering and terror funding.