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Terror Funding In Kashmir: Pak Nationals Send Money via Italy; Cross-Border Traders Under ED Scanner

Enforcement Directorate is trailing certain suspicious European and PoK remittances, which have been routed to Jammu and Kashmir in the past. It is suspected that these remittances have been used for funding terrorism in the state. Sources said that ED is likely to send a letter rogatory to Italy in connection with at least two cases of suspicious funds received by Hurriyat Conference member Firdaus Ahmad Shah. He had received funds through Western Union from a Pakistani national based in Italy. The agency believes it is important to identify the money source as it may lead to vital clues.

Last year, the ED had filed a chargesheet against Yar Mohammad Khan, who on behalf of Firdaus Ahmad Shah had received questionable remittances from Europe. The payments in this case had come from Italy from a Pakistani national, who was also suspected to be involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Similar suspicious remittances were also received by a Valley-based woman identified as Nabla Begum. The money again was sent through Western Union money transfer. According to ED, the funds came from a Pakistani woman named Shabina Kanwal settled in Italy.

In both the cases reasons for remittances could not be explained by either Firdaus Ahmad or Nabla Begum. Therefore, ED suspects, though the amount was around Rs 2 lakh, it might have been routed for terror funding. Senior officials are of the view that deeper probe into the matter may throw up some major leads. In a chargesheet filed in a terror-funding case of 2013, the National Investigation Agency said that Hizbul Mujahideen had used cross-border trade from PoK to fund terrorists. At least Rs 80 crore had come through this route, the chargesheet said.

According to the NIA, the Hizbul Mujahideen sent terrorists from Kashmir Valley to PoK in the garb of traders. With the help of truck drivers, engaged in cross-border trade, these terrorists facilitated money and weapons to Indian side. These traders allegedly under-invoiced the goods sent from across PoK. Indian counterparts sent equivalent goods as per barter system and the extra money generated in the exchange was collected by Hizbul Mujahideen in the valley. The same money was channeled to militants.

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