New Delhi: Charges were on Saturday framed against a close aide of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and three others, arrested for allegedly running hawala racket to fund banned terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir Valley, by a Delhi court, paving the way for their trial.
District Judge HS Sharma framed charges under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Ghulam Mohd Bhat, said to be Geelani's close aide, Mohd Siddiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga, who are presently in Tihar jail under judicial custody.
"The charges have been explained to each accused in detail. They have pleaded not guilty," the judge said adding the trial would commence from April 16.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had last year filed charge sheet against the four, indicting them for procuring over Rs 4.57 crore from Pakistan through hawala channels within three years after 2008 for funding terrorist activities in the Valley.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police, on January 22 last year, had arrested Srinagar-based lawyer Bhat, Ganai, Liloo and Dagga from Jammu and Kashmir on a tip-off that they were carrying hawala money, allegedly meant for terror outfits in the valley. It had also recovered Rs 21.20 lakh from them.
The case was later handed over to the NIA. During the probe, the NIA as well as the police had questioned Geelani, who had reportedly told the investigators that he was receiving funds from various sources but had no links with Bhat in hawala dealings.