Terror funding case: Yasin Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Yasin Malik to judicial custody till May 24 in connection with a case related to the funding of terror and separatist groups in the state.

Presenting him before Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Syal, Tihar Jail authorities pleaded that Malik should be presented before the court through video conference due to security reasons. The court has asked Malik’s counsel to file a reply on the Tihar Jail autorities’ application.

The NIA arrested Malik on April 10, in a terror funding case which the agency registered in May 2017 after violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley. So far, the agency has arrested several separatist leaders, including Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.

Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of Syed Ali Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan.Shahid-ul-Islam is Dar’s aide and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat. Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was arrested in August 2017.The anti-terror agency on January 18, 2018 filed a charge-sheet against 12 persons, including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court Wednesday rejected a plea to bar 2008 Malegaon blasts accused and BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur from contesting the Lok Sabha elections, citing that it is for the electoral officers to take a call on the matter.

“In the ongoing elections, the court does not have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting the polls. It is the job of electoral officers to decide. This court cannot stop the accused number 1 from contesting the polls. This application is negated,” the court was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“At this juncture, the NIA cannot state that there is no prima facie case against the accused as the NIA has not challenged the order (rejecting discharge of the accused) before the high court,” it added.

The special NIA court’s response came after Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, whose son Sayyed Azhar had died in the blast, urged it to prevent Thakur from contesting the polls since the trial is still in progress.

“She isn’t attending the court proceedings on grounds of ill-health but is campaigning for elections where she isn’t looking unwell,” the lawyer of the applicant had told the court.

Calling the plea “frivolous” and with “political agenda”, Thakur earlier said there was no provision under the law to bar her from contesting the polls.

(With Agency Inputs)