JK: ED arrests three in connection with money laundering case

Srinagar, Feb 14 (UNI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested three Kashmir residents, including a separatist leader, in a money laundering case related to the MBBS admissions in Pakistan, officials said.

Hurriyat leader Mohammad Akabar Bhat alias Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Fatima Shah, both residents of Srinagar and Sabzzar Ahmad Shaikh, Anantnag were formally arrested by ED under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with money laundering case.

All the three are already in jail from the last over three years.

Bhat was a top commander of militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen when the group declared a ceasefire in July 2000, which was reciprocated by the Centre.

In May 2022, the court of Special Judge designated under NIA Act Srinagar framed changes against the separatist leader and seven others for allegedly procuring medical seats in Pakistan for Kashmiri students in lieu of money which was “partly used” to “support and fund terrorism and separatism in different ways”.

A spokesman of the ED on Wednesday said the three were arrested in connection with money laundering case wherein accused persons involved in terror financing were hand-in-glove with Pakistani handlers Manzoor Ahmad Shah and Altaf Ahmad Bhat, who arranged admissions in MBBS & other courses in the colleges of Pakistan for students from Jammu & Kashmir.

The trio have been remanded to ED custody till February 20.

The ED initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of FIR registered by J&K Police for offences under various sections of Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act and IPC, 1860 against Mohammad Akbar Bhat, Fatima Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat, Qazi Yasir, Syed Khalid Geelani alias Khalid Andrabi & others involved in terrorist activity in Jammu & Kashmir.

The ED investigation revealed that the arrested accused persons were hand in glove with Pakistani handlers in the guise of admissions in MBBS & other courses in the colleges of Pakistan for students from Jammu & Kashmir.

“They had received money in their personal accounts and in the bank accounts of Al-Jabar Trust which was a charitable trust,” the ED said. “ But it was being used for the purpose of receiving funds from students, which were further being ploughed into the terrorist activity in India in various ways such as given money to stone pelters, providing money to the persons/terrorist based in Jammu & Kashmir as per instructions of Pakistan handlers such as Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat etc.”

Earlier, ED had provisionally attached properties worth Rs. 5 Crore under the provisions of PMLA, 2002 in the form of various bank accounts, immovable properties etc.

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