New Delhi: Former Independent MLA in Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Rashid Engineer, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday in connection with a case related to the funding of terror activities in Kashmir, officials said.
Rashid, who was a legislator from the Langate Assembly seat in north Kashmir, is the first mainstream politician to have been arrested by the NIA in the case.
He was earlier questioned in the case in 2017 and again summoned earlier this week.
The officials said that he was unable to give any convincing answers to the questions and therefore, his custodial questioning became necessary.
His name had cropped up during the interrogation of businessman Zahoor Watali, who was arrested by the NIA for allegedly supplying money to terror groups and separatists in the Valley.
The NIA had registered the case against separatist and secessionist leaders, including unknown members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organisations Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other outfits and gangs, the officials said.
The case was registered for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and for causing disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on the security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India, the probe agency said in the FIR.
Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ud- Dawa, the front of the Lashker-e-Taiba, has been named in the FIR as an accused.
The FIR also names organisations such as the two factions of the Hurriyat, one led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the other by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, an all-women outfit of separatists.