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Separatist Geelani’s house in Srinagar likely to be attached in terror funding case

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani who died in Sept, 20221

Srinagar: The Union Territory’s State Investigation Agency (SIA) has begun the process of the attachment of a house built with terrorist-linked funding  in which separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani lived for nearly 35 years.

The moves comes close on the heels of the Enforcement Directorate attaching Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah’s house in Srinagar under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Highly placed authoritative sources, revealed that the SIA had put under scanner Geelani’s house, as well as an adjoining property which he used as the office of his organisation till his death in September 2021. The agency has received reports and “some evidence” that the land had been acquired and given in Geelani’s possession by his organisation Jamaat-e-Islami in 1988 and later two residential and office structures were raised over it allegedly out of the proceeds of terror funds.

Sources said that the agency was investigating the case and no action would be taken until collection of concrete evidence. While Geelani’s wife has been living in the same house at Hyderpora, both his sons have their independent houses in Srinagar. After Geelani’s death on 1 September 2021, none of his family members or relatives has taken over the leadership of his separatist political organisation. His son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah aka Fantoosh, who was also arrested in the 2017 terror funding case, has died while in custody at AIIMS, New Delhi, last month.

The ED has proceeded against the detained separatist leader Shabir Shah who was arrested and booked in a case of terror funding by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2017. Following a series of raids on the residential houses and other properties of the separatist leaders in 2017 and thereafter, the NIA filed charge-sheets in its designated court in New Delhi, where the trial is currently underway.

Progressing on the NIA charges, the ED has now got Shabir Shah’s residential house, valued at Rs 21.80 lakh, attached in Botshah Colony in the Sanat Nagar Rawalpora neighbourhood in Srinagar. However, the actual price of the property is said to be over Rs 3 crore as per the current market rate.

The ED alleged that Shah was actively involved in the activities of fuelling unrest in the Kashmir valley by way of stone pelting, processions, protests, hartals and other subversive activities.

Following Shah’s arrest in 2017, his wife Dr Bilkees Shah was also booked and a supplementary charge-sheet was filed against her. According to the prosecution, she too was involved in matters of money laundering. One particular property held in her name and her daughters was also attached in a posh area of Srinagar. However, Dr Bilkees, who is currently in the Government service as Medical Superintendent of a major hospital in Srinagar, was not arrested or physically dispossessed from the property. One of her daughters is reportedly pursuing her studies in the UK.

Of all the leaders accused, only the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Yasin Malik, has pleaded guilty of the charges filed against him. The court has sentenced him to multiple imprisonments and other penalties including an imprisonment for life.

Lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, Malik is simultaneously facing trial in two high profile cases—the kidnapping of the then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya Sayeed in December 1989 and the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) officials in January 1990. Both the cases have been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba supremo Hafiz Saeed, Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, former MLA Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Shahidul Islam, Farooq Ahmad Dar aka Bitta Karate and Yasin Malik are among the accused in the terror funding case.