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India

NIA crackdown on Kashmiri separatists, 3 more in custody

Continuing its crackdown on separatists in Kashmir, the NIA on Tuesday took custody of Masarat Alam Bhat, the alleged kingpin of stone pelting, along with Shabir Shah, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party and Asiya Andrabi, the head of women’s secessionist group Dukhtaren-e-Millat, to question them about their role in terror funding.

The National Investigation Agency brought Bhat, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League, to Delhi on Monday night from a prison in Jammu and Kashmir where he was lodged under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

On Tuesday, he was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Syal who sent him to 10-day custody of the NIA.

Bhat was under detention for his role in triggering protests and serial stone pelting in Kashmir Valley in 2010 for several months in which 110 protesters were killed.

Along with Bhat, the court also remanded Shah and Andrabi to NIA custody till June 14 in connection with a terror funding case.

Their custody was sought for interrogation in connection with a terror funding case which the agency registered in May 2017.

Prior to this, the NIA had brought JKLF leader Yasin Malik here in connection with the case.

In the preceding months, the anti-terror investigating agency had arrested separatist leaders including 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 Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan.

Shahid-ul-Islam is Farooq Dar’s aide and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat. Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was arrested in August 2017.

Asiya Andrabi — chief of the banned Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a separatist organisation — has been accused of waging war and delivering hate speeches in Jammu and Kashmir. She was arrested on July 6 last year.

The NIA had on January 18, 2018 filed a chargesheet against 12 persons including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in connection with the terror funding case.

(IANS)

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India

Violence as 28-year-old man dies in police custody in Srinagar

A 28-year-old man belonging to Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district died in police custody in Srinagar, triggering a spontaneous shutdown and street clashes in Awantipora town.

As news reached Awantipora that Rizwan Asad Pandit, 28, a private school teacher, had died in police custody, clashes started between the security forces and stone-pelting youths.

All shops and other businesses were hurriedly closed and traffic also went off the roads in the town.

As a precaution, all exams scheduled for Tuesday in the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) at Awantipora were postponed.

Mobile Internet services were suspended in Awantipora and adjoining areas.

Authorities rushed reinforcements of security forces to Awantipora to maintain law and order.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. This is an unacceptable development and must be investigated in a transparent, time bound manner. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man.”

The National Conference leader added that with “midnight raids, crackdowns, rampant arrests, custodial murders, denial of democratic right to choose a government. Kashmir continues to suffer the fallout of the disastrous PDP-BJP alliance and from the Modi government’s muscular approach to J&K”.

Police said Rizwan was arrested three days back in connection with a militancy related case.

“He died during Monday night,” a police officer said, adding that a magisterial probe had been ordered.

“In addition, a departmental inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances that led to the death,” the officer said.

IANS

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India

Court extends Deepak Talwar’s Enforcement Directorate custody

A Delhi court on Tuesday allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to quiz corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar for two more days in a money laundering case.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar extended Talwar’s ED custody after the probe agency told him that he is required to be confronted with two people in connection with the case.

Talwar was presented before the court on expiry of his ED custody.

Talwar was deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 30. He was presented before a court on January 31 which sent him to seven days ED custody.

The ED said Rs 200 crore was allegedly received in one of the bank accounts of a company of Talwar in Singapore and that he is being probed for his suspected role in the irregular seat sharing on Air India’s profitable routes with some international airlines.

Talwar had fled to Dubai after the Indian agencies started probing his role in concealing the income of over Rs 1,000 crore as well as facilitating aviation contracts during the UPA regime.

He is accused of brokering aviation sector deals, getting government approval for foreign companies, and securing favours for clients due to his ties with UPA functionaries.

IANS

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India

AgustaWestland case; Court sends Saxena to judicial custody

A Delhi court on Tuesday sent Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena to judicial custody till February 18 in the AgustaWestland deal case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar sent Saxena to judicial custody after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told him that it did not require his further custodial interrogation.

The court has also asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here to file a medical report of Saxena by Wednesday.

Saxena has sought bail on medical grounds, saying that he is suffering from radiating back pain, numbness and heaviness in legs, neck pain and other ailments.

He also told the court that he has been co-operative with the investigation in the case. The court has listed the matter for hearing his bail plea on February 13.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) security authorities picked up Saxena from his residence in Dubai on January 30 and extradited him to India later that night, along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

According to the ED, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Saxena provided corporate structure across the globe to the laundered money for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

A Delhi court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena after it surfaced that he did not join the investigation despite repeated summons.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a chargesheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the Directorate.

AgustaWestland case: Court sends Saxena to judicial custody

IANS

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India

Gautam Khaitan sent to judicial custody till February 20

A Delhi court on Friday sent lawyer Gautam Khaitan, accused of money laundering in connection with a black money case, to judicial custody till February 20.

Subsequently, Khaitan moved his bail application in the case before Special Judge Arvind Kumar.

The court has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file its response on Khaitan’s application and said that it will hear the bail plea on February 15.

Khaitan was arrested on January 25, a week after the Income Tax Department raided his offices and various other properties in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

The ED said that Khaitan was “controlling” the modus operandi and was responsible for routing money, misusing his connections and clients, including the ones inherited from his father, to launder money through a variety of accounts in Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore, Tunisia, Switzerland, the UK and India.

Agency officials said the accounts included those belonging to his undisclosed shell companies outside India.

Khaitan was arrested in September 2014 for his alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

He got bail in January 2015 and was again arrested along with Sanjeev Tyagi, another accused in the case, on December 9, 2016, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He later secured bail.

The CBI charge sheet had described Khaitan as the brain behind the AgustaWestland deal.

IANS

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India

Saxena’s ED custody extended in AgustaWestland case

A Delhi court on Friday extended Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody for four days until February 12 in the AgustaWestland deal case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar extended Saxena’s custody after the ED told him that the accused was required to be confronted with voluminous documents and it would take two more days for him to finish writing answers to the set of questions given.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) security authorities picked up Saxena from his residence in Dubai on January 30 and extradited him to India later that night, along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

According to the ED, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Saxena provided corporate structure across the globe to the laundered money for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

A Delhi court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena after it surfaced that he did not join the investigation despite repeated summons.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a chargesheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the ED.

IANS