NIA files chargesheet, says Para `key player in political-separatist-terrorist nexus in J&K’

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Jammu: National Investigation Agency on Monday filed a supplementary chargesheet against PDP leader and Pulwama District Development Council member Waheed-ur-Rehman Para among three people in a terror funding case before the NIA Special Court here, saying that he “was part of conspiracy for raising and transferring of terror funds to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants for procurement of terrorist hardware and he was also a crucial player in sustaining political-separatist-terrorist nexus in J&K’’. 

The other two – Shaheen Ahmad Lone and Tafazul Hussain Parimoo, according to the chargesheet “were involved in gun running from across the LoC for the militants of banned terrorist organisations Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar e Taiba (LeT). They were also channelizing funds to the militants for sustaining terrorist activities in J&K at the behest of handlers located in Pakistan’’.

The supplementary chargesheet against them was filed under Section 120B of the IPC, sections 17, 18, 38, 39 & 40 of the UA (P) Act, and section 25 (1AA) of Arms Act and section 6 of the Explosive Substances Act in NIA Special Court Jammu in Devender Singh Case.

This comes over two months after the NIA judge, highlighting various loopholes in the NIA case against Para, had ordered his release on bail subject to his furnishing a surety and personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each. The judge had said neither the original nor the supplementary chargesheet has a “reference of the present applicant”, and that he is even referred to as “suspected accused in the said case”.

The judge had also questioned the very basis of Para’s arrest, on the “so-called disclosure statement” of militant Syed Naveed Mushtaq Shah alias Naveed Baba, noting that its “legal value” was “seriously hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act”, which says that such confessional statement can only be recorded under Section 164 CrPC by a Magistrate, and said that not even one protected witness had named him.

“The original chargesheet was filed on July 6, 2020, wherein Naveed Mushtaq and other three accused were chargesheeted, but there was not even a whisper about the involvement of present applicant/accused Waheed Para in the commission of offences, despite the fact that the statement of the accused Naveed Mushtaq allegedly implicating the present applicant… was already available with the investigating agency’’.

Noting the NIA’s “deep slumber” in arresting Para only in November, the order added, “This kind of inaction on the part of the investigating agency clearly postulates the fact that they were not intending to array the present applicant as accused in the present case… I seriously doubt… whether during the course of further investigation, the investigating agency could have arrested Waheed Para on the basis of the old evidence which was collected by them during initial investigations.”

Considered instrumental in revival of the PDP in South Kashmir, Para was arrested by the NIA on November 25, three days after he had filed nomination papers from Pulwama for the maiden District Development Council elections in J&K. He had won while in custody. Sources in the NIA said they will challenge the bail order in the High Court.

However, immediately after his release on bail, Para was re-arrested in connection with an FIR registered by Counter-Insurgency Wing of Jammu Kashmir Police in Srinagar under provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged links between politicians and terrorists.

Later, following request by police, he along with Mukhtyar Ahmed Waza alias Munir Ahmed Sofi, a People’s League leader and member of the Hurriyat Conference, was remended by police custody by the court. The NIA has already filed an appeal in the High Court challenging NIA court’s order granting bail to Para.

Initially, the case pertained to alleged links between a serving Jammu and Kashmir Police Devender Singh and militants after he along with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants and an advocate Irgan Shafi Mir were arrested near Al-Stop Naka, Qazigund while travelling from Srinagar to Jammu in an i20 car. The car was owned and driven by advocate Irfan Shafi Mir.

NIA had filed chargesheet against eight accused in this case, NIA said, adding further investigation in the case were in progress.