Three Kashmiris convicted in 2010 terror funding case

New Delhi: With three Kashmiris pleading guilty in 2010 terror funding case, a special court on Monday convicted them and sentenced them to a period of imprisonment they had already undergone.

District and Sessions Judge Poonam Bamba convicted Mohammad Sadiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga under the various provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

All three were in judicial custody since being arrested on January 22, 2011.

Another accused Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, one of the closest aides of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, is in judicial custody in the case.

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid, 42, a Jammu and Kashmir government employee, was arrested here on October 24 after he was called for questioning at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters.

The agency alleged that Shahid was collecting funds from Aijaz Bhat, a Srinagar resident now based in Saudi Arabia and a Hizbul Mujahideen militant, on the direction of his father Salahuddin, who is based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The 2011 terror funding case pertains to terror money sent through hawala channels by militants based in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA had filed three charge sheets against seven accused in the case in 2011.

Two of the accused, Mohammad Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Bhat, are on the run and have been declared proclaimed offenders. Both are active Hizbul Mujahideen militants and currently based in Pakistan.

Bhat, according to NIA records, received arms training with the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in early 1990s.

He never returned to Srinagar and began working for the militant group in Pakistan. He is said to have stayed in Sialkot before shifting to Saudi Arabia for generating funds for the group’s activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to NIA, he had procured over Rs 4.5 crore from Pakistan through hawala channels within three years after 2008 for funding militant activities in the Kashmir Valley.

Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, Ganai, Liloo and Dagga were arrested on January 22, 2011 and Rs 21.20 lakh were recovered from them.

After their arrest, Aijaz Bhat used to send money to Shahid. The Hizbul founder’s son, according to an NIA official, received at least four instalments of money in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Shahid is the third son of Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jehad Council, the amalgam of Kashmir militant groups based in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

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