Three outfits in UK funded Geelani militancy for 5 Yrs
10 June 2002
The Asian Age
New Delhi: The economic offences wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation, with the help of Interpol, is likely to investigate and identify the UK-based organisations allegedly funding Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other Hurriyat leaders for militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. A senior official in the home ministry said: ''As the J&K police has limited resources and expertise to investigate such economic offences, the matter is likely to be handed over to the CBI,'' adding that ''the department of revenue has also been asked to keep close watch on the Internet banking facilities being exploited by these organisations to route the money for militancy.'' ''On the basis of yesterday’s search operations at Geelani’s place, it is confirmed that three UK-based organisations are allegedly funding him and other Hurriyat leaders. It is estimated that money worth Rs 3.27 crores was transacted through the hawala channel and Internet banking during the past five years and distributed amongst various militant organisations in the Valley,'' the home ministry official claimed. Though he refused to disclose the names of these organisations, saying that would jeopardise the investigation, the official added: ''The documents seized during the search operation clearly established their links with these organisations.'' Maintaining that some businessmen of J&K and Delhi were also working as agents between the Hurriyat leaders and the funding organisations — as they are frequent visitors to the UK — the MHA official further said that the income-tax department has also been directed to assess their (businessmen’s) accounts on an urgent basis. The Central Board of Excise and Customs has also been asked to initiate an effective measure to prevent their visits abroad. Saying that ''Geelani... was allegedly passing on classified documents to Pakistan for which he was paid by the ISI and the Pakistani authorities,'' the MHA official maintained that ''the laptop seized has revealed a five-page document regarding deployment of Indian military forces in sensitive areas in the Valley and also transactions with these organisations. Between October 2001 and March this year he had reportedly received over Rs 87 lakhs from UK-based organisations.'' ''In the prevailing situation, it requires an in-depth investigation either by the CBI or the Research and Analysis Wing as the possibility of the involvement of some other J&K leaders and officials cannot be ruled out,'' the MHA official said. Meanwhile, when contacted, a senior official in the income-tax department said: ''The available data and other documents showed that they were involved in the transaction since early 1990s.'' The tax official said, on condition of anonymity, that the accounts of some of the businessmen were being scrutinised to check whether there was an unusual transaction through their bank accounts, adding that the department has also sought cooperation from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Enforcement Directorate. The government has also directed the ministries of human resources development and health and family welfare to identify the non- governmental organisations working in the Valley which were getting financial assistance from foreign countries, sources said, adding that a London-based NGO, Mercy Universal, was pumping huge sums of money to NGOs in India. The question of funding of militancy from the United Kingdom had been taken up by Union home minister L.K. Advani with visiting British foreign secretary Jack Straw during his recent visit. It may be noted that a Dubai connection to the funding of militancy came to light in March 2000 when the police intercepted one person at the border of J&K and Punjab and recovered Rs 33 lakhs from him, which was meant for People’s League, a constituent of the Hurriyat Conference.