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Watali sent to 10-day NIA custody

20 August 2017

Sources in central intelligence agencies, working in co-ordination with the NIA in the terror funding case, refused to divulge the identity of these separatist leaders and said investigations into the case were at a critical stage and naming the separatists at this stage could hamper the investigations. The NIA had arrested Watali on August 17 in connection with the funding of terrorist and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir. "The property documents seized have shown huge amount of cash transactions in sale and purchase", the agency said in a statement.

NIA officials said the searches are being carried out at 12 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla and Handwara districts.

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For the NIA the arrest of prominent businessman from Jammu and Kashmir, Zahoor Watali was a major shot in the arm.

Earlier in June, the NIA had conducted search in Zahoor Watali's house in Srinagar and seized documents related to financial transactions and land deals. "He was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Gani Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months at Jammu", the statement added.

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Sources said Watali, who has been under the NIA scanner for almost two months, was called for repeated questioning at the agency's Delhi headquarters before his arrest. All seven separatist leaders - Altaf Shah, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Mehraj Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam, Naeem Khan and Bitta Karate - were later sent to 10-day NIA custody.

Watali was also accused of travelling on a cancelled passport knowing that it was illegal, the NIA alleged.

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"Instead of surrendering the cancelled passport to the authorities, he travelled overseas on cancelled/invalid passport on March 21 previous year in violation of the law and again when he tried to do so, his invalid passport was seized at Delhi by the authorities", NIA said.

Watali sent to 10-day NIA custody