High Court bail for Kashmiri businessman in terror funding case

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted bail to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in a terror funding case.

A bench of justices S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs200,000 with two sureties.

Watali had challenged the trial court’s June 8 order rejecting his bail plea. He was arrested on August 17, 2017 and was charge-sheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on January 18 along with Pakistan-based terrorist leaders Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others in the case of alleged terror funding in the Kashmir Valley.

They were charge-sheeted under stringent anti-terror laws for hatching a conspiracy with Saeed and Salahuddin to wage a war against India to secede Jammu and Kashmir.

The separatists, arrested on July 24, 2017, are 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 hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Islam is an aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.

Meanwhile, the army has apprehended a Pakistani national who crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch sector, defence sources said on Thursday.

Identified as Umeer Yousaf, 23, the intruder is a resident of Taral Khel in Poonch sector of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The army personnel apprehended Yousaf late on Wednesday while he was roaming along the Ranghar Nala after crossing the LoC. He was later turned over to the police.

He had a tobacco pack, two identity cards and Rs50 in Pakistani currency on him.

In a related development, a gunfight erupted between security forces and militants on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore town, police said.

On being tipped off about militant presence, security forces including personnel from Rashtriya Rifles (RR), the state police’s Special Operations Group (SOG and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), cordoned off the town’s Arampora area.

“As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired at the security forces triggering the ongoing gunfight,” the police said.

As a precautionary measure, authorities have suspended mobile internet services in Sopore.

Educational institutions were also asked to remain shut for the day.

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