ED attaches Rs 1.73 cr assets of Zahoor Watali

ED attaches Rs 1.73 cr assets of Zahoor Watali
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The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it has attached assets worth Rs 1.73 crore of Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali in connection with a militant funding and money laundering case.

It said a provisional order has been issued under thePrevention of Money Laundering Act for attachment of Rs 1.48 crore worthimmovable properties of Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali's family and Rs 25 lakh of hisdeposits in a Jammu and Kashmir Bank branch in Delhi.

The ED case is based on a charge sheet filed by the NationalInvestigation Agency as part of its probe against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chiefHafiz Saeed.

"Watali has been found to be involved in fund raisingand as a financial conduit of Hurriyat leaders," the ED had said earlier.

It said, in a statement, that probe revealed that the"Hurriyat leaders have received funds from Pakistan through conduits andalso from the Pakistan High Commission directly."

"This was substantiated by an incriminating documentseized from the house of Ghulam Muhammad Bhat during search," it said.

Bhat worked as a cashier-cum-accountant with Watali, the EDsaid.

"The document clearly indicates that Watali wasreceiving money from Hafiz Saeed (LeT and Jamaat-Ud-Dawa chief), from ISI, fromthe Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi and also from a source based inDubai," it said.

"Watali was remitting the same to the Hurriyat leaders,separatists and stone-pelters of Jammu and Kashmir. The said document has beenmaintained in regular course of his business and is signed by Watali," itadded.

This document, the ED said, indicated that the Hurriyatleaders were receiving funds from Pakistan through the officials of thePakistan High Commission and through Watali.

The agency said the signature of Watali "has beenverified" and as per the expert report, his signature on the stateddocument matches with his specimen handwriting as well as his admittedhandwriting.

The agency has attached assets worth about Rs 9 crore in thecase against the Kashmiri businessman till now as part of a crackdown againstmilitant funding and separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The agency said that the NIA probe has revealed that the AllParty Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and others instigate the public, especiallyyoungsters, to observe strikes and issue directives to the masses to holdanti-India protests, demonstrations and processions through press releases,newspapers and social media. "This is done willfully to create suchcircumstances which will arouse disaffection among the people of Jammu andKashmir towards the Government of India," the ED had said.

Watali, Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddinand nine others have been accused by the NIA of "conspiring to wage a waragainst the government" and fomenting trouble in Kashmir.

In its charge sheet, the NIA has alleged that Watalireceived money from ISI of Pakistan, the Pakistan High Commission here and froma source in Dubai.

Watali is lodged in the Tihar jail at present in connectionwith the NIA case.

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