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NIA in Srinagar to question Geelani, 3 others

NIA in Srinagar to question Geelani, 3 others

A team from the counter-terror investigation agency landed in Srinagar to question the four separatist leaders, an NIA statement said.

Key separatists, including Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, are being probed for allegedly receiving money from Lashkar-e-Taiba and other sources in Pakistan to fund stone-pelting and violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

"From this perspective, if they are receiving funds from, for example, somebody in Pakistan in cash beyond the prescribed amount, then they are obviously answerable for it and when we see the situation there, where militants are involved and if these funds are related to terrorism, then the NIA will have to look at it", he added.

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Earlier, the NIA had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Hurriyat leaders including Geelani, Naeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Gazi Javed Baba and others.

The move comes after an expose by a national news channel, India Today, purportedly showing Pakistan pumping money to stoke trouble in the valley in connivance with Hurriyat leaders.

Separately, India's financial crime probe agency, the Enforcement Directorate, has called a meeting within a couple of days to discuss if a criminal case could be made out against the separatists for their alleged involvement in money laundering and hawala transactions, an illegal system of transferring money across borders.

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The NIA official said a notice has been sent to the TV channel for the unedited videos of the sting.

NIA officials will also verify and test the sting operation which showed some Hurriyat leaders talking about taking money from Hafiz Saeed and other individuals. The agency's team reached Srinagar on Friday to take the investigation forward, ANI reported quoting sources.

One of the more recent of these confessions was from moderate Hurriyat leader Geelani's colleague Naeem Khan, who reportedly said on camera that not only does the Hurriyat raise money domestically at times, but it could repeat the J&K unrest of 2016 - the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani - if they could gather enough money.

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