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Ahead of demonetisation anniv, NIA seizes Rs 36 cr in banned notes in terror funding case

The seizure is part of the National Investigation Agency’s crackdown on terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir. Nine men arrested during the seizure are suspected to have links with separatists in Kashmir.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2017 07:15 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
NIA,Demonetised currency,Cash seizure
NIA seized demonetized currency of more than Rs 36 crore and arrested nine people in this connection with terror funding case in Jammu and Kashmir.(Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

On the eve of first anniversary of demonetisation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) announced on Tuesday a seizure of Rs 36.34 crore in demonetised currency in Delhi in its ongoing probe into cross-border funding of terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The money was seized on Monday. NIA officials said that the role of some bank employees Srinagar is under the scanner in connection with the second biggest seizure of demonetised currency after the government banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes on November 8 last year. The biggest seizure after demonetisation was in December 2016 when Income Tax officials seized Rs 102 crore in demonetised currency from mining baron Sekhar Reddy in Chennai.

Amid a continuing attack by the opposition on the note ban, Monday’s seizure is likely to boost the government’s argument that demonetisation helped in curbing terror financing.

“We have seized demonetised currency worth Rs 36,34,78,500 and arrested nine people in this connection,” NIA inspector general Alok Mittal said.

Mittal said the NIA investigators intercepted a gang on Tuesday at Jai Singh Road near Connaught Place in the heart of the capital.

The arrested accused included Pradeep Chauhan (47) and Bhagwan Singh (54) of Delhi, Vinod Shreedhar Shetty (47) and Deepal Toprani (60) of Mumbai, Shahnawaz Mir (45) of Srinagar, Majid Yousuf Sofi (27) of Anantnag and Umar Mushtaq Dar (27) of Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, Ejaj-ul Hassan (38) of Amroha in Uttar Pradesh and Jaswinder Singh (53) of Nagpur.

The accused were carrying 28 cartons filled with demonetised currency notes of denomination Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in four vehicles – two BMWs, one Creta and a Ford EcoSport.

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Investigators say since the haul of demonetised currency was so huge, they sought help from officials of the Reserve Bank of India who counted the money at the NIA headquarters here.

Mittal said during the investigation into terror funding case, it emerged that some people linked to the separatists and terrorists were still in possession of a significant amount of demonetised currency.

“They could not deposit or convert the demonetisated currency in their possession during the window provided by the government. The NIA mounted surveillance on the suspects. Investigators found that a gang of suspects were trying to convert this demonetised money into valid currency,” added Mittal.

Following the closure of window for conversion of old currency, the government in March this year notified a law that made possession of more than 10 old currency notes a criminal offence.

In June, the NIA had filed an FIR alleging funding of separatists in Kashmir valley from Pakistan. The agency said that money from Pakistan was used for funding violence in the Valley that included stone pelting on security forces and torching of schools and government buildings.

The agency had earlier arrested nine others accused in the case including hardline Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah ‘Funtoosh’, Ayaz Akbar Khanday, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah (all from Geelani’s faction of Hurriyat), Shahid-ul-Islam (of the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq faction), Nayeem Khan of the Jammu Kashmir National Front and Farooq Ahmed Dar aka Bitta Karatay of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (R).

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 20:24 IST