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Court extends ex-J-K MLA Rashid Engineer's NIA custody in terror-funding case

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 14-08-2019 18:22 IST | Created: 14-08-2019 18:22 IST
Court extends ex-J-K MLA Rashid Engineer's NIA custody in terror-funding case

A Delhi court on Wednesday extended till August 21 the NIA custody of former Independent MLA in Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Rashid Engineer, arrested in a case related to funding of terror activities in the Valley. Rashid, who was a legislator from the Langate Assembly seat in north Kashmir, is the first mainstream politician to have been arrested by the NIA in the case.

Special Judge extended the custody after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said there were serious charges against him and it needed to question him further. Seeking extension of his custody by ten days, the NIA told the court that Rashid had received money from Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ud- Dawa, and assisted the Hurriyat leaders in running the terror funding module.

He was earlier questioned in the case in 2017 and again summoned last week, the agency said. Advocate Ankit Sarna, appearing for Rashid, opposed the NIA plea saying he was already cooperating in the investigation, and that there was no need of further custodial interrogation.

Rashid was arrested on August 9, since he was unable to give any convincing answers to the questions, the NIA said. His name had cropped up during the interrogation of businessman Zahoor Watali, who was arrested by the NIA for allegedly supplying money to terror groups and separatists in the Valley.

The NIA had registered the case against separatist and secessionist leaders, including unidentified members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have allegedly been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organisations Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other outfits and gangs, the officials said. The case was registered for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and for causing disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on the security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India, the probe agency said in the FIR.

Hafiz Saeed has also been named in the FIR as an accused. The FIR also names organisations such as the two factions of the Hurriyat, one led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the other by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, an all-women outfit of separatists.


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