Free Press Journal

Court extends by six days ED custody of Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah



New Delhi: A Delhi court extended today by six days the custody of Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah allowing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to interrogate him further in a decade-old money laundering case for alleged terror financing.

The court allowed the plea of the ED seeking extension of his custody after its counsel alleged that sixty-four-year-old Shah was ruining the country by using foreign money to fund terror.

“Let him say Bharat Mata ki jai,” the ED counsel said in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma, who then remarked it was not a TV studio and directed the counsel to argue on merits.

Advocate M S Khan, appearing for Shah, however, alleged that Shah was being pressured and compelled to give various statements during his custody by ED officials. The court had yesterday extended by a day Shah’s custody for questioning by the ED which had said it was necessary to ascertain his role in “anti-national activities” as well as terror funding in India through hawala channels from countries like Pakistan, the UAE and the UK.

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The agency had told the court that Shah was in continuous contact with terrorists in Pakistan and received money several times through ‘hawala’ transactions for “disrupting the peace in Jammu and Kashmir”. It had also said that Shah’s associates were to be confronted with him and the “international ramification” of the financial involvement was to be unearthed.

The agency was also trying to ascertain the movable and immovable assets of Shah, who was arrested on July 25, besides unearthing the sources of hawala transfers and further dissemination of the funds, it had said.

The ED had said that during interrogation, Shah revealed that he was obtaining donations for the Kashmir issue in cash for which he was not filing any income tax returns. The records relating to the donations were to be recovered and the accused had to be confronted with them, it had said.

Shah was arrested by the ED a day after several Hurriyat leaders were taken into custody of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in a case of alleged terror funding in the Valley to fuel unrest.

Investigating agencies like the NIA have cracked down on Hurriyat leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law –Altaf Ahmed Shah, also known as Altaf Fantoosh — and six other Kashmiri separatists. Shah was arrested in an August 2005 case in which the Special Cell of the Delhi Police had taken into custody Mohammed Aslam Wani (35), an alleged hawala dealer. The ED had claimed that Rs 63 lakh was recovered from Wani out of which Rs 52 lakh was allegedly to be delivered to Shah.

The agency had earlier issued summonses to Shah in connection with the 2005 case, the prosecution had said, adding that Wani had claimed that he had given Rs 2.25 crore to Shah.