NIA again questions Hurriyat’s Mirwaiz

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) questioned Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq for a second consecutive day on Tuesday in connection with a terror funding case, an official said.

As the investigators were not satisfied with the answers given by Farooq during his questioning on Monday, he was called on Tuesday to clarify on matters related to funding to his Awami Action Committee as well as the Hurriyat Conference, the official said.

Farooq was asked about his connections with hawala operators and contacts abroad. Officials sought answers to the documents seized from his residence on February 26.

According to informed sources, the NIA team asked him about details of his bank accounts, movable and immovable properties and his relatives residing in India and abroad and their businesses.

Farooq was accompanied by other separatist leaders, including Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari.

The NIA on Monday questioned Farooq for nearly eight hours at its headquarters here after he appeared before the agency after avoiding two earlier summons.

Earlier, he had expressed his inability to depose before the NIA in Delhi because of fear of threat to his life.

The NIA on Tuesday also summoned Naseem Geelani, son of separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

The NIA had registered the terror funding case after violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley in 2017.

The agency has arrested Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.

Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of Syed Ali Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan.

Shahid-ul-Islam is Farooq’s aide and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat. Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was arrested in August 2017.

The anti-terror agency had on January 18, 2018, filed a charge sheet against 12 persons, including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, in the case.