Srinagar: The State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K Police Saturday launched early morning searches at eight different places to investigate the “tributaries and distributaries” of slush funds flowing through Sarjan Barkati,
An official of SIA in a statement issued here said that the raids were conducted in connection with funds through Barkati of south Kashmir, who was known for mobilising thousands on to the streets during the 2016 agitation through his incendiary oratory.
The SIA official said that Barkati, known as the pied piper, used to openly invite and incite youth to take to violence and pull down the Indian state in J&K. “SIA registered a case FIR No 02/23 related to crowd funding against Barkati and others in which he has raised huge funds amounting to more than Rs 1.5 crore, with his family making emotional appeals to the people to support them for day-to-day needs,” he said. “Under this garb he not only generated huge funds but prima facia also laundered money coming from unknown sources suspected to have originated from terror outfits for further use in sustaining the secessionist-terrorist campaign.”
The SIA official said that so far SIA had identified 10 suspects whose involvement had surfaced in the initial investigation.
“The early morning raids spread over many districts of Kashmir are underway,” he said. “Each search is backed by search warrants issued by competent court, Magistrates, local Police assistance, female Police team, spotters, and transport support by the Security Wing of J&K Police.”
The SIA official said that with the seizures of electronic gadgets, incriminating material and other corroborative evidence during these searches, SIA was hopeful that the searches would enable it to extract some vital evidence as to who all had contributed to the Sarjan Barkati fund, what was the source of such money, how much of it was from legitimate income, how much from unaccountable sources, and whether such sources had anything to do with terror and Hurriyat finances.
He said that preliminary investigations had shown that Barkati had diverted a substantial part of the funds for his personal benefit and purchased a piece of land worth Rs 45 lakh in Anantnag town in the name of his wife which he sold for Rs 72 lakh, making a profit of 27 lakh and had also built a palatial house using public money.
The SIA official said that he had also purchased 5 kanal land to establish a Madrassa, which was meant for making money and provide platform to anti-national elements and also aimed to be a haven for luring youth towards terrorism.
He said that a large chunk of such money had been deposited in several FDRs in the name of his family members.
The SIA said that not only had the accused breached the public trust with emotional blackmail by building a personal fortune on the crowd funds donated to him by public for daily sustenance, he as well camouflaged money coming from suspects sources under the garb of crowd funding for furtherance of secessionist-terrorists campaign.