In the first case of freezing of terror funds in the country, the Enforcement Directorate has attached an amount of Rs 55 lakh seized from Nasir Safi Mir, the alleged financial brain behind terror and separatists' groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mir, who managed to procure a bail in 2008 on health grounds from Delhi High Court and later fled from Nepal allegedly using a fake passport, was arrested on February three, 2006 from Delhi.
Besides the Rs 55 lakh in cash, arms and ammunition were also seized from Mir at the time of his arrest. He has jumped bail and is on the run for the last six years.
ED attaches Rs 55 lakh terror funds of Kashmiri fugitive
Mir, who was reported closely associated to Hurriyat Conference Chairman Miriwaiz Umer Farooq, was subjected to extensive interrogation by central security agencies during which he is claimed to have spoken about his links with the separatists' groups and banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
When contacted, the Mirwaiz told a news agencies over phone from Srinagar that he knew Mir and his family but he had nothing to do with the case for which he was arrested.
His disappearance from the country had raised eyebrows within the security establishment as it was suspected that some sleuths had come to his aid and managed his escape from the country.
According to the ED attachment order issued recently, the cash whixh is at present in the custody of the Special Cell was "proceeds of crime of terrorist funding and money laundering and hence stands attached."
This is the first major action against terror funding in the country under the stringent provisions of money laundering laws where the onus of proving 'not guilty' is on the accused.
The attachment of cash or properties under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is aimed to deprive the accused of the benefits of the assets which are earned unlawfully. The ED, which registered its own FIR in this case in 2007, claimed that during its investigation it found that Mir received the blackmoney from a Hawala operator working clandestinely from the tony market place of Connaught Place in Delhi.
The ED attachment order said Mir "was to deliver the consignment of explosives and Rs 10 lakh to one Hizbul Mujahideen operator Zahoor and Rs 40 lakh was to be delivered in Kashmir for Hizb terrorists and the remianing Rs 5 lakh was for his commission."
Mir, during his interrogation statement to the Special Cell, is reported to have said that "after the death of Abdul Majid Dar, Syed Salahuddin took over as a chief of Hizbul Mujahideen and he used to give directions to Mir to channel the terrorist funding in India and for the purpose of channelising the Hawala transactions which were being used for terrorism activities, he used to visit India frequently."
Mir, just before his arrest in 2006 from near Defence Colony in a Honda car, was sent with the mission to collect the Rs 55 lakh in question along with arms and explosives.
The Special Cell had recovered 2 kgs of RDX, an electronic timer, one detonator, a Chinese Mauser, six live cartridges while a blue coloured airbag contained Rs 45 lakh and separately 10 wads of Rs 1,000 notes (each containing 100 notes).
The Delhi Police had booked Mir under various sections of tyhe Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Mir earlier used to possesses an Indian Passport, issued in Dubai, has a house in Dubai and also operated an NRI account in Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Delhi South Extension area.
The name of Mir, originally a resident of North Kashmir, started cropping in the late 1990s when it was alleged that he had converted his carpet business into a money exchange bureau in Dubai.
The 43-year-old Dubai-based businessman, who owns a carpet showroom and money exchange firms in the Gulf, had been regularly reporting to the nearest police station till early October 2008 but after that he never turned up at the police station as well as in the court for the hearings.
A resident of Lal Bazar in the outskirts of Srinagar city, Mir quit his studies in 1983 to get into the carpet business which he continued till 1990 after which he shifted to the national capital and stayed in Lajpat Nagar area of South Delhi.
In late 1990's, he went to Dubai soon after his father was arrested over his alleged links with terrorists.