Dar, Shazia met Yasin Malik before smuggling US dollars
25 March 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Mushtaq Ahmed Dar, a Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) activist arrested yesterday at Kud alongwith a woman carrying one lakh American dollars for JKLF supremo Yasin Malik, has made some ‘sensational’ disclosures during his over-night interrogation by police in Udhampur. Dar, a close associate of Malik and former chief spokesman of JKLF outfit, told his interrogators that he had a closed- door meeting with Yasin Malik about 25 days back in Srinagar before proceeding for Nepal to collect the consignment of American dollars. During the meeting, Dar said, he was briefed by Malik how to collect the consignment and how to bring it safely to Srinagar. Reliable police sources, engaged with the interrogation of Dar, said after the meeting Malik introduced Dar to Shazia Begum, also a resident of Batmaloo. Shazia was also briefed to hide the American dollars very cleverly under a specially erected pocket in her ‘salwaar’ to ensure that they were not detected during the routine police checking. ''But for a special surveillance operation launched on Jammu-Srinagar national highway following reports of the terrorists’ movement, the duo of Dar-Shazia would have succeeded in smuggling one lakh American dollars (amounting to about Rs 48 lakh in the Indian currency) to Srinagar'', the sources said. They said Dar also disclosed that about four lakh American dollars had been collected by Yasin Malik during his about month long stay in America in October-November last year, where he had gone for treatment. The money was collected from the businessmen of a particular community on the pretext of pursuing the ‘Kashmir cause’. Since it was not possible for Malik to bring the dollars either alongwith him or through his supporters from America due to tight security arrangements there in view of September 11 terrorists attack on World Trade Centre (WTC), some JKLF supporters in the United States decided to route the amount via Pakistan and Nepal. Some supporters of ‘Kashmir movement’ in the United States sent the amount to Pakistan based Kashmiri leaders, who had direct liaison with the JKLF besides the Hurriyat Conference, the sources said, adding the amount was brought to Nepal from Pakistan by a Kashmir based separatist Altaf Qadiri and handed over to Dar at a hotel in Kathmandu. Rest of the American dollars, approximately about three lakh that turned around Rs 1.44 crores, were to be brought to Kashmir at later dates, the sources said, adding ‘it now would be difficult for the JKLF to smuggle the remaining dollars’. Meanwhile, Dar and Shazia were brought here this afternoon from Udhampur and kept in the Police Control Room (PCR). Later, they were shifted to an unknown location for further interrogation. Sources said sustained questioning of Shazia Begum was yet to take place. A woman police officer would interrogate her tomorrow. Police was hopeful of extracting more clues from the duo during their further interrogation. As reported, both of them had been booked under Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) at Kud police station.