Rashid Paul

GoI challenges Tribunal’s order releasing Watali’s seized assets

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Srinagar, Feb 26: The Government of India on Wednesday challenged a tribunal order that released some of the assets of the businessman Zahoor Watali seized earlier by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged money laundering and militancy funding case.

The Government of India through its Assistant Solicitor General Tahir Shamsi challenged the tribunal court order that released some of the seized assets of the businessman Zahoor Watali.

The court issued notice against the respondents and asked them to file their response.

Riyaz Ahmed Jan, the advocate representing Watali, later told this newspaper that “a drama is being enacted by the appellants. They are creating hype. Very soon it will be blasted.”

The ED had seized Watali’s fixed and mobile assets worth crores of rupees in a militancy funding and money laundering case in 2018 and 2019.

The businessman is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail and is facing charges for his alleged links with banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and its chief Hafiz Sayed, by both the ED and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India.

The Supreme Court of India has already dismissed a Delhi High Court order granting bail to the accused Watali.

Watali, according to NIA, has been a “man of influence and connections” across Hurriyat Conference, India and Pakistan.  He has his businesses spread across many countries. He was first arrested in 1990 from his house in Baghat along with some separatist leaders in the city.

According to NIA, Watali acted as a “conduit for illegally remitting funds to secessionists and militants operating in Kashmir”.

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