NIA arrests Hizb chief Salahuddin’s son

NIA arrests Hizb chief Salahuddin’s son

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested the son of Hizbul Mujahideen founder Syed Salahuddin in a six-year-old case of terror funding through...

New Delhi/Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested the son of Hizbul Mujahideen founder Syed Salahuddin in a six-year-old case of terror funding through hawala channels on Tuesday, a day after the Centre appointed an interlocutor to hold a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA in a statement charged the 42-year-old Shahid Yousuf of “receiving and collecting funds through international wire money transfer” from a Saudi Arabia-based Aizaz Ahmad Bhat, who is accused of being a member of the Pakistan-based terror group. “The money was being wire transferred to Shahid Yousuf by Bhat,” the NIA said in the statement.

Yousuf has a Master’s degree in Agriculture and works as a village agricultural assistant in the state’s Agriculture department. He was summoned by the agency to Delhi on October 16 and has left for the capital accompanied by his relative.

Sources said Yousuf, who was given a permanent job in March this year, has already been questioned thrice in Srinagar in connection with the same case.

The case dates back to 2011 when the Delhi Police’s special cell registered a case against Hizbul Mujahideen under sections 13, 17, 18, and 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The federal agency has filed two chargesheets against six people including Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, a close aide of separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani. And out of these six people, four are in judicial custody and facing trial.

Salahuddin has also been declared as a proclaimed offender in the case and a red corner notice was issued against him on January 22, 2014.

Two others - Mohammed Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Ahmed Bhat - have also been chargesheeted by the NIA but are absconding. A red corner notice has been issued against both of them.

The agency said Yousuf has been one of the several contacts of Bhat, originally a resident of Kashmir, who have been in telephonic contact with him “to receive the money transfer codes’’.

Yousuf is the third son of the militant commander who fought and lost the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 1987 and then left the valley for Pakistan where he founded Hizbul Mujahideen. He has five sons and two daughters, who were all reportedly minors when he left Kashmir.

Indian security agencies suspect that he directs terrorist attacks from Pakistan and is also the chief of United Jihad Council, an amalgamation of terrorist outfits operating in the valley.

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