The Income Tax department on Monday seized the Delhi flat of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G). The move comes as part of the crackdown against Kashmiri separatists following the Pulwama terror attack. The flat, located in Malviya Nagar’s Khirki Extension area, was frequented by Pakistani diplomats. The I-T department has also prohibited Geelani from transferring the property as he has failed to pay Rs 3,62,62,160. Last week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday had imposed a penalty of Rs 14.40 lakh on Geelani under the Foreign Exchange Management Act. They also confiscated $10,000 (around Rs 7 lakh based on current exchange rates) that were seized from his premises during an Income Tax raid at his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area in 2002.
Earlier, the ED had also attached assets worth Rs 1.03 crore belonging to businessman Zahoor Ahmad Watali, a Kashmiri businessman in a money laundering case related to funding of terror organisations in Jammu and Kashmir. ED has attached 25 properties in the matter of terror financing by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-Ud-Dawa) and Mohammad Yusuf Shah (Head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen). Watali is being investigated by the agency for allegedly handling Hafiz Saeed's finances in India, according to reports. The NIA in its chargesheet had alleged Watali received money from ISI in Pakistan, the Pakistan High Commission. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Watali in August 2017 on terror-funding charges.
“The agency has issued a provisional order for attachment of assets of Watali under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Enforcement Directorate (ED) case is based on a charge sheet filed by the NIA as part of its probe against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed,” official said.
NIA probe revealed that the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) instigate the people to observe strikes and issue directives to the masses to hold anti-India protests. "This is done willfully to create such circumstances which will arouse disaffection among the people of Jammu and Kashmir towards the Government of India," official said quoting the ED order.
Earlier, the NIA had on February 26 carried out searches at premises of separatist leaders, including the Mirwaiz, in connection with the case related to the financing of terrorist and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
The NIA team, accompanied by police and CRPF personnel, searched residences of some of the separatist leaders, including the Mirwaiz, Naseem Geelani and Ashraf Sehrai, the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
The houses of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yaseen Malik, Shabir Shah, Zaffar Bhat and Masarat Alam were also raided. Barring the Mirwaiz and Sehrai, all other leaders were jailed for some time.
The NIA had questioned two maternal uncles of the Mirwaiz - Maulvi Manzoor and Maulvi Shafat - and his close aides last year. Both Manzoor and Shafat are retired senior government officers.
(With agency inputs)