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Kashmiri trader got funds from 26/11 mastermind: ED



Enforcement Directorate

New Delhi, March 12: The Enforcement Directorate has identified some 24 properties across India, including in the national capital, that belong to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali and were bought with money received from alleged 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Watali in August 2017. He is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.

On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate attached Watali’s immovable property worth Rs 1.3 crore in Haryana’s Gurugram. The action was taken under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The financial probe agency is examining cases against Saeed, who is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Syed Salahuddin, head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), and others.

“We have identified 24 properties of Watali, bought in several states including Delhi, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh,” an ED source told IANS.

He refused to share details of these properties.

The value of the said properties is over Rs 15 crore. The source claimed that Watali received the money for the properties for “his services”.

The agency had earlier claimed that documents recovered from Watali’s residence showed that he received money from Saeed, from the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), from the Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi and also from a source based in Dubai.

The source said Watali had a very good relation with Pakistan-based terrorists and terror groups apart from Saeed and Salahuddin.

Watali used to receive instruction from his handlers from across the border to pass the money to the separatist leaders in the Kashmir valley, the source added.

Earlier, on March 8, IANS reported that the ED has also identified six people and several NGOs, who bought properties from the money received from Pakistan-based terror groups.

The ED had filed the case of money laundering based on a NIA case registered in May 2017 for stoking unrest in Jamuu and Kashmir.

The anti-terror agency had on January 18 last year filed charge sheet against 12 people, including Saeed and Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others in terror funding.

The ED in 2018 had also questioned Dubai-based hawala operator, Naval Kishore Kapoor, who was arrested by NIA on July 16. Kapoor is currently lodged in Tihar Central Jail, as the ED continues probe into details of funding that emerged post-26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

According to the ED sources, questioning of Kapoor was required as the NIA probe had revealed a lease agreement signed in 2014 between him and Kashmiri businessman Watali.

The agency also has incriminating document against Watali, recovered from the cashier-cum-accountant of the businessman, Ghulam Mohammad Bhatt, during a 2017 raid.

According to ED officials, the Watali, who was arrested by the NIA in August 2017 was remitting the same to the Hurriyat leaders, separatists and stone-pelters of Jammu and Kashmir to stoke unrest.

The officials said that the documents collected from Watali’s residence and office showed that it had been maintained in regular course of his business and was signed by Watali himself.

The NIA in July 2017 had also arrested Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.

Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Shahid-ul-Islam is an aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.

By Anand Singh (IANS)


Investigation was quarantined, says Bihar Cop on Sushant Singh Rajput case



Vinay Tiwari IPS

Patna/Mumbai, Aug 7: Commenting on Mumbai police probe into actor’s death, Bihar IPS officer Vinay Tiwari said that not only he but Bihar Police’s investigation into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death was also “quarantined and obstructed”.

Tiwari arrived in Mumbai to probe the case but was quarantined in Mumbai after his arrival and Mumbai authorities said it was done in line with COVID-19 protocols relating to inter-state travel.
IPS Officer was released and allowed to return to home.
Tiwari will now leave for Patna this evening, according to news agency ANI.

“I would say I wasn’t quarantined. The investigation was quarantined. Investigation of Bihar Police was obstructed,” Mr Tiwari, whose release had been requested by the Nitish Kumar government, told ANI.

After he arrived on Sunday, Tiwari, City Superintendent (central Patna), had been asked to stay in quarantine till August 15. City authorities insisted this was common procedure during the coronavirus outbreak and said Tiwari would have to make an application for exemption. In the meantime, they said, he could conduct his business via video conferences with the help of software like Zoom.

Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey, however, claimed the officer had been “forcibly quarantined”. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: “Whatever happened to him is not right, It is political”.

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Rains triggers landslide in Kerala : 15 dead



Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 7: At least 15 people have been killed after heavy rain caused a landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district early this morning, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Friday evening, While announcing Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the families of those killed, the chief Minister said that the cost of treatment will be borne by the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted Friday afternoon to say he was “pained by the loss of lives” and to announce compensation, from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, of Rs 2 lakh each to family members of those who had died and ₹ 50,000 to those who were injured.

Fifteen others have been rescued so far and are undergoing treatment at the Tata General Hospital in Munnar. An NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team is engaged in rescue operations.

Officials say the landslide happened in the Rajamalai area of the district, which is around 25 km from the tourist town of Munnar. Around 80 people lived in the area, officials said, adding that they do not know, at this point, how many more are trapped under the mud.

A connecting bridge was swept away making access to the area difficult.

A 50-member strong special task force of the state fire service – who have been equipped for night-time work – are among the emergency services personnel sent, Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan has said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that a second team, based in Thrissur, was also en route and police, fire service personnel and forest and revenue officials had been instructed to join rescue efforts.

A 50 member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities. #KeralaRainspic.twitter.com/olo1eraMNV

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‘Politically motivated activism’: Ex-judges, CEC counter pro-Bhushan lobby





New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS):
 Trouble for prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan seems to be far from over. After 131 “prominent personalities” urged the Supreme Court to withdraw its contempt notice against Bhushan, a group of 174 eminent citizens have countered it, including 2 former High Court Chief Justices, in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind.

In a no holds barred attack on the first letter in support of Bhushan, the 174 people including former Rajasthan Chief Justice Anil Deo Singh, former Foreign Secretary Amar Sinha and former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami termed the ones vouching for Bhushan, as an “odd group of persons”.

Bhushan is being tried for contempt in the Supreme Court.

“It is a matter of concern that one odd group of persons, claiming themselves to be distinguished public men of the past, has been observed to repeatedly avail of every opportunity to put Indian democracy and its sacred institutions like Parliament, Election Commission of India, and now the Supreme Court of India, in poor light before the whole world. They end up issuing ill-considered statements, and writing misconceived communications to various authorities to attract media attention,” wrote the anti-Bhushan group, in a damning counter.

This was a reference to the previous group of 131 citizens which included former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur and Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav, expressing solidarity with Prashant Bhushan. Their statement, arguing for Bhushan read, “The initiation of contempt proceedings against Mr Bhushan, who had articulated some of these concerns in his tweets, appears to be an attempt at stifling such criticism, not just by Mr Bhushan, but by all stakeholders in the Indian democratic and constitutional set-up.”

But on Friday, in their letter to the President, the 174 others retorted, saying, “Freedom of speech is another foundation of democracy, but the freedom to speak can certainly not be misconstrued as a freedom to make a hate speech, subversive speech with the intent to shred national integrity, a diatribe undermining national sovereignty, or carrying out tirades to demolish the sacred institutions of Indian democracy.”

The counter group argued that the contempt case is “exclusively” between Prashant Bhushan and the apex court. But the group consisting of the likes of Yogendra Yadav, has “interfered with the administration of justice,” they said.

They even raked up Bhushan’s previous call for a “referendum” in Kashmir, blaming it on “gaping loopholes in the system”. Calling it “interference in the garb of politically motivated activism”, the 174 signatories say they reject the pro-Bhushan group’s “unprincipled posturing”.

“We concerned citizens, hereby disapprove of this group in its acts of routinely producing a negative public narrative replete with disrespect to Indian democratic institutions,” wrote the group of 174.

This elaborate list consists of 2 former High Court Chief Justices, 15 former High Court judges, 4 former Chief Secretaries, a former CEC, a former DG of the CISF and 12 former DGPs. It also consists of 4 former ambassadors and former Chief Commissioners of Income Tax, each. Shakti Sinha, who has been the Director of Nehru Memorial, also signed on this strongly worded petition to the President.

The Supreme Court issued a contempt notice to Prashant Bhushan earlier on July 22, for a couple of his tweets in which Bhushan had written about the “role of the Supreme Court” in the alleged “destruction” of democracy during the last 6 years.

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