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Common link between 26/11 financiers and Hurriyat member: ED

Sunday, 19 July,Srinagar: Probe agencies have found a common link between money received by Firdous Ahmad Shah, a member of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s hardline Hurriyat Conference, and financiers of 26/11.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which recently filed its first charge sheet in a money laundering case in the Kashmir Valley, has alleged that Shah, Chairman of Democratic Political Movement, received over Rs three crore between 2007 to 2010. The money was received from ‘Madina Trading’ located in Brescia in Italy and sender was claimed to be Javed Iqbal, a resident of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). However, after Italian police arrested two Pakistani nationals in 2009, it was alleged that the firm had made nearly 300 transfers in the name of Iqbal, who probably had never set his foot in Italy.

The Italian police, while concluding the probe had said the Brescia-based company had made several transfers using the identity of totally innocent, unsuspecting persons, whose identity cards or passports may have been stolen. In the case of Iqbal, his identity may have been stolen when he used another money transfer agency in Pakistan.

The name of Madina trading had cropped up during the investigation of 26/11 Mumbai attacks when it was found that the second payment of 229 US dollars was wired to Callphonex via Western Union Money Transfer receipt number 8364307716-0 for activitating the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) used during the terror strikes. The sender of this payment was Javed Iqbal and he had used Western Union Money Transfer agent Madina Trading to make the payment to Callphonex.

For identification, Iqbal provided Madina Trading with Pakistani passport number KC092481, the charge sheet said. During the scrutiny of 300 entries of wire transfers, it was found that the money had been allegedly sent to Shah and his associate Yar Mohammed Khan in small amounts, the sources said. The charge sheet, which has been filed in the court of Sessions Judge, Srinagar (Special Judge, Money Laundering), naming Shah and Khan, alleged that the two men received money from Italy through Western Union Money Transfer and it was used for unlawful activities relating to terror funding.

When contacted, Shah denied the allegation and said the matter was in the court and it will be decided there. While ED claims Shah admitted to having received money through wire transfers, he himself denied it saying, “I don’t remember. There was some money that had come to Khan but I don’t remember as of now.”

The ED attached Shah’s house at Abi Gujar in Lal Chowk, which was, however, released by the court and the matter is under adjudication. Besides this, Rs one lakh belonging to Khan has been frozen, the official said.
The previous Omar Abdullah government had taken up with the Centre the need for roping in Enforcement Directorate to deal with the issue of financing terror groups through illegal means.