Politicians paying money to terrorists commanders for support during polls; says NIA

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Jammu: Taking the lid off the alleged politico-terror nexus, National Investigation Agency in its supplementary chargesheet against PDP leader Waheed-ur-Rahman Para and two others in alleged terror funding case before the NIA Special Judge here has said that some mainstream politicians are paying money to the commanders of terrorist organizations to secure their cooperation during election campaign thereby making a mockery of the electoral process.

Pointing out that Para was arrested on November 25, 2020 for his role of extending support to active Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists in Kashmir Valley, it said that its investigations revealed that he “entered into a criminal conspiracy with Irfan Shafi Mir (advocate), Devender Singh (a DySP of Jammu Kashmir Police) and Syed Naveed Mushtaq (Hizbul Mujahideen commander) for procurement of arms and ammunition for terrorists active in Kashmir Valley to sustain the on-going terrorist activities in the Union Territory of J&K’’. Devender Singh along with Irfan Shafi Mir and Naveed Mushtaq were arrested by police while travelling to Jammu from Kashmir in a car last year.

The arrested PDP leader was “part of a larger conspiracy’’ hatched by Pakistan based Hizbul Mujahideen leadership “to make inroads into important institutions and entities for want of desired support to carry forward the agenda of secession of Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India by way of violent means i.e. terrorist activities’’, it said in its chargesheet filed on Monday. The HM in continuation of the conspiracy seeking support from various institutions and entities had invited support from Parra with the evil design of getting it as and when required, it added.

“The mainstream politician-terrorist nexus clearly establishes that some of the mainstream politicians are involved in politics of convenience and deceit wherein they are seeking help from commanders of terrorist organizations for securing cooperation during election campaign and for assisting their workers in the management of election process. These mainstream politicians are seeking this cooperation through payment of money thereby making mockery of the electoral process,’’ it pointed out in its supplementary chargesheet against Para and two others in NIA Special Court here.

About Parra, NIA said that he used to “organize a racket of stone pelters in Pulwama district in 2010-11’’ consisting of 20-25 youth and it “yielded political mileage to accused Waheed-ur-Rahman Para from the political party Peoples Democratic Party’’. 

In 2016, he gave Rs 10 lakh to a Pakistani LeT militant Abu Dujana as financial support, apart from logistic support to him and another militant Naveed Jat, the chargesheet said. The same year, he was “involved in the dirty business of gun running from Kupwara area to South Kashmir ‘’, it added, pointing out that he used to visit Kupwara area with his escort party and bring weapons in his official vehicle as none of the security agencies used to check it en route being an important political entity. 

Pointing out that Para was closely associated with co-accused persons in the case – Irfan Shafi Mir and Devender Singh for extending support to HM terrorists in terms of their transportation and shelter at safe places during 2019, NIA chargesheet said that he gave Rs 5 crore to separatist All Party Hurriyat Conference leader Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh to keep the situation boiling in Kashmir Valley after the killing of HM terrorist Burhan Wani. “This amount was given by accused Waheed-ur-Rahman Para on behalf of PDP to Hurriyat Conference for keeping the secessionist activities alive,’’ it said, adding that accused Altaf Ahmad Shah was a close associate of Para and he had been in continuous touch with him during turmoil in Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani.

It also referred to the talk between Para and Syed Naveed Mushtaq on “secure social chat platform – Signal’’ in February/March 2019 when the latter was staying in the rented house of Irfan Shafi Mir at Jammu, adding the arrested PDP leader also had several meetings with Irfan Shafi Mir at his Gupkar Road house. He associated himself with banned terrorist organisation HM and provided Rs 10 lakh to Irfan Shafi Mir for further handing over the same to Syed Naveed Mushtaq for buying arms and ammunition for Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, it added.

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.

Two months earlier, the NIA Special Court, 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 NIA, however, had challenged his bail order in Jammu and Kashmir High Court, while police had re-arrested Para in connection with an FIR registered with Counter Insurgency Wing of Jammu Kashmir Police in Kashmir.

The other two named in the supplementary chargesheet along with Para include Shaheen Ahmad Lone and Tafazul Hussain Parimoo. According to the chargesheet, both “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’’.