ED attaches assets of Kashmir-based ‘hawala operator’
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday said it has attached assets worth Rs 7.32 lakh of a Kashmir-based alleged hawala operator in connection with a money laundering case linked to “terror financing”.
It said a provisional order for attachment, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), has been issued against Aijaz Hussain Khwaja.
He is a resident of Baramulla district in north Kashmir.
“The attached assets consist of a portion of a residential flat at Jangpura in Delhi and some bank balance held by Khwaja’s wife. The present market value of the attached property is higher,” the central probe agency said in a statement.
Khwaja, 57, was arrested in 2006 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police from the Lodhi Road area with over 2 kgs of RDX explosive and Rs 49 lakh in cash, police had said.
Police had then said Khwaja was one of the 44 winners of the President’s National Awards for artisans and handicrafts in 2003.
The ED said he was later convicted and handed a seven-year jail term by a lower court under sections of the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The seized amount was also confiscated by the trial court, it said.
“Probe found that the accused was operating as a hawala operator for financing various terror-related illegal activities in Jammu and Kashmir…. He had generated proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 8.50 lakh during that period,” the ED alleged.
“As a hawala operator, Khwaja was in touch with Muktiar Ahmed Bhatt, a Pakistan-based operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘in league’ with the ISI, to undertake hawala transactions for various separatists and militant activities,” the agency said.
Hawala is a Hindi word used to identify illegal transaction of huge amount of funds by skirting bona fide banking channels.