New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the National Investigation Agency (NIA)’s response on Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali’s plea challenging the trial court’s order framing charges against him in a terror-funding case.
A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh issued a notice to the probe agency and listed the case for the next hearing on May 3.
The agency had arrested Watali in 2017 under various Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The NIA had alleged that terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM), with the support of Pakistan’s ISI, perpetrated violence in the valley by attacking civilians and security forces.
In May 2022, a trial court had framed charges against Watali and others in a case related to alleged terrorism and secessionist activities that disturbed Jammu and Kashmir in 2017.
Charges were framed against LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, HM chief Syed Salahuddin and Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah and Masarat Alam, under various Sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
It had also charged Mohammad Yusuf Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Watali, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Masarat Alam, Abdul Rashid Sheikh and Naval Kishore Kapoor in the case.
Mohammad Yasin Malik, leader of JKLF, was convicted and awarded life imprisonment after he had pleaded guilty to the charges.