Ayub Thakur denies questioning by Indian police
20 July 2002
LONDON: The controversial U.K-based Kashmiri separatist leader, Ayub Thakur, today dismissed as a ''lie'' reports that he was questioned by a team of Indian investigators recently in connection with allegations that he is funding militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. He is believed to be among more than a dozen Indian businessmen whose names figure in a list which the Indian Government is reported to have given to British security agencies along with ''evidence'' of their alleged support for Kashmiri terrorists. ''Indian police have no right to question me because I am not an Indian,'' he told The Hindu but admitted that he had been sending money for ''charity'' work in Kashmir. ''There is nothing hidden in what I do and all these allegations are a bundle of lies,'' he said vehemently denying that Indian investigators, who were in Britain last week, had even approached him. Dr. Thakur, who fled India in the eighties and travels on British travel documents though he is not a British citizen, has been accused of using his charitable organisation Mercy Universal to fund terrorists in Kashmir. Britain''s Charity Commissioner has initiated an inquiry into Mercy Universal''s links but Dr. Thakur said the Commission had not personally approached him. The Times said today that British security chiefs had been given a list of 14 Indian businessmen living in Britain and allegedly ''secretly funding'' Kashmir militants. ''The dossier says that more than £ 6 million a year is sent from Britain to groups with links to Al Qaeda, including Jaish-e-Muhammad and Laskhar-I-Taiba. Ministers in Delhi want Britain to deal with the 14 men, or allow India to extradite them,'' it said.