SRINAGAR — State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K on Saturday said that it launched searches at eight different places to investigate the tributaries and distributaries of slush funds flowing through the known secessionist Molvi Sarjan Barkati of south Kashmir, known for mobilizing thousands onto streets during 2016 violent agitation, through his incendiary oratory.
Known as the pied piper, Sarjan Barkati used to openly invite and incite youth to take to violence and pull down the Indian state in J&K.
SIA in a statement said that it has registered a case FIR No. 02/23 related to crowdfunding against Sarjan Barkati and others in which he has raised huge funds amounting to more than 1.5 crore, with his family making emotional appeals to the general public to support them for day to day needs.
Under this garb, he not only generated huge funds but prima facia also laundered money coming from unknown sources suspected to have originated from militant outfits for further use in sustaining the secessionist-militant campaign. “So far SIA has identified 10 suspects whose involvement has surfaced in the initial investigation. The early morning raids spread over many districts of Kashmir are underway,” SIA said.
The agency said that each search is backed by search warrants issued by a competent court, magistrates, local police assistance, lady police team, spotters, and transport support by the security wing of J&K Police.
“With the seizures of electronic gadgets, incriminating material, and other corroborative evidence during these searches, SIA is hopeful that the searches would enable it to extract some vital evidence as to who all have contributed to the Sarjan Barkati fund, what was the source of such money, how much of it was from legitimate income and how much from unaccountable sources, whether such sources had anything to do with militant and Hurriyat finances,” the statement said.
SIA further claimed that preliminary investigations have shown Sarjan Barkati has diverted a substantial part of the funds for his personal benefit and purchased a piece of land worth Rs 45 lakhs in Anantnag town in the name of his wife which he sold for Rs 72 lakhs, making a profit of Rs 27 lakhs and has also built a palatial house using public money.
“He has also purchased 5 kanals of land to establish a Madrassa which as per credible information is meant for making money and provide a platform to anti-national elements and also aimed to be a breeding ground for luring youth towards militancy,” State Investigating Agency claimed.
It said that a large chunk of such ‘ill-gotten’ money has been deposited in several FDRs in the name of his family members. SIA added that not only has the accused breached the public trust with emotional blackmail by building a personal fortune on the crowd funds donated to him by the public for daily sustenance, he as well camouflaged money coming from suspected sources under the garb of crowdfunding for the furtherance of secessionist-militants campaign.
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