The National Investigation Agency may have finally got a “watertight” case against the Hurriyat brass in the J&K terror funding case, with five accused and witnesses recording statements under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code — which is admissible as evidence in court — detailing the transfer of funds sourced from Pakistan to top leaders of the separatist outfit.
Added to this is documentary proof seized during NIA raids on the premises of one of the arrested persons, recording payments made by the Kashmiri conduit to the who’s who of Hurriyat, from funds received from Pakistan-based sources via the hawala route.
TOI has learnt that NIA has got one of the arrested persons, a close aide of a top Hurriyat leader, as well as four others to record statements before a magistrate disclosing the role of Hurriyat leaders in passing on terror funds received from Pakistan, including through conduits based at its high commission in Delhi, to trouble-makers in the Valley.
Sources indicated that the arrested person who has made the confessional statement under Section 164 of CrPC may be made ‘approver’.
A source said the statements recorded under Section 164 as well as documentary evidence collected by the NIA during the course of the investigation could nail the role of Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq as well as JKLF boss Yasin Malik in funding violent protests in J&K at the behest of Pakistan-based masterminds.
With “enough” evidence in hand on the terror funding role of Hurriyat leaders, the NIA hopes to question top separatists, including Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik. This, incidentally, is being planned even as there is a view in a section of the government that it may be a good time to get the cornered Hurriyat to blunt their anti-government rhetoric and fall in sync with the government’s line on J&K.
Incidentally, other arrested accused in the case too have signalled their willingness to record statements before a magistrate. However, NIA is not in favour of their request to be made approver/witnesses, and wants to retain them as accused in the case.