Baramulla, Jul 28: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted searches at the residences of four cross-Lines of Control (LoC) traders in this old town in north Kashmir in terror funding case, an official said.
The raids come just days after the investigation agency carried out searches at seven locations in south Kashmir district of Pulwama and Srinagar at the properties of businessmen associated with the cross-LoC trade, which is allegedly used by militants to send money into the state to spread trouble. Assisted by security forces and state police personnel, sleuths of NIA conducted raid at the residences of businessmen Tariq Ahmad, Bilal Bhat, Asif Ahmad Lone and Tanveer Ahmad.
The official said that early on Sunday morning, security forces and states police personnel sealed all roads leading to the residences of the four businessmen in old town Baramulla.
Later, the NIA sleuths conducted searches in their houses, he said, adding that the operation was still going on when the reports last came in. He said all the four are cross-LoC traders.
On July 23, searches were conducted by NIA in Achgoza in Pulwama at the premises of Tanveer Ahmad Wani, who is the President of the cross-LoC traders Association. Raids were also conducted in the Safakadal, Baimina and Parimpora fruit markets in Srinagar. 'During the searches, incriminating documents, including photographs and documents, allegedly related to cross LoC trade irregularities, were uncovered. Besides, electronic devices and other material have also been seized,' the NIA had said.
The NIA in a statement had said that reliable information was received that a large scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India has been taking place through the import of California almonds via the cross-LoC trade. The trade between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), was suspended from March 8 after reports that it (trade) was being used for terror funding. Trade was suspended after Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fidayeen attack in February this year left 44 CRPF personnel dead and scores injured at Awantipora on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The Karvan-e-Aman bus operating between Srinagar and PoK also remained suspended since March 8.
The NIA and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have so far arrested over two dozen separatist leaders and businessmen in the Kashmir valley in connection with terror funding. The investigative agency has also questioned a number of media persons in the valley. UNI