Press Trust of india

NIA stumbles upon ‘evidence’ of militancy ‘funding’ through cross-LoC trade during DySP case probe

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Srinagar, Feb 16:  The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has stumbled upon “evidence” of funding of militant groups through cross-border trade during its probe into the case of Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder Singh who was caught escorting militants out of Kashmir Valley, officials said on Sunday.

The officials said NIA investigators grilled self-styled commander of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen outfit Syed Naveed Mushtaq Ahmed alias Naveed Babu, who was caught with Singh, about the funding of the organisation and the way they had been in touch with “their masters in Pakistan”.

The agency has stumbled upon “evidence” of militancy financing through cross-LoC trade during Naveed Babu’s questioning, they said.

The NIA had registered a case against unknown people in connection with the trade across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 and carried out raids at trade facilitation centres in Salamabad in Kashmir’s Baramulla district and Chakan-da-bagh in Poonch district of Jammu.

During its probe in the past four years, the NIA had been unable to find the final beneficiary of the money received from traders, the officials said, adding that after Naveed’s questioning the agency had got a “vital link”.

The officials said that some more people were likely to be picked up for questioning in the case as the probe in the DySP’s case has brought the four-year-old case to focus.

Recently LoC trade organisation president Tanveer Ahmed Wani was arrested by the NIA and was being questioned.

The cross-LoC trade, started in 2008 as a confidence building measure between India and Pakistan, was stopped in April last year by the Centre citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”.

“The action has been taken after reports that the cross-LoC trade routes are being misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency, etc.,” the government had said then.

The officials said that they did not rule out the possibility of arrested police officer Singh having knowledge about the funding pattern through trade as he had been associated with Naveed Babu for long.

Singh was arrested last month along with Naveed, Hizbul Mujahideen militant Rafi Ahmed Rather and Irfan Shafi Mir, who claims to be an advocate. He is at present in judicial custody.

The officials said that if need be Singh and others could be summoned in connection with the LoC trade case as well.

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