The trade and business with Pakistan have come under the scanner of the National Investigating Agency (NIA), as it has allegedly fallen into the hands of money launderers, who are using it to fund separatists to fuel violence in Valley.
Several teams of NIA, since the last 48 hours, have been conducting raids in Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi in connection with an alleged case of terror financing by Pakistan-based terror outfits and the separatists in the Valley.
Senior NIA officers are probing money link between traders in India with those across the LoC. Businessmen, whose houses and offices were raided in Delhi and Haryana were mostly involved in the business of dry fruits, spices, fruits, leather, shawls etc.
Officials claim that traders under suspicion used to export goods having over-invoiced bills and they would route the amount thus raised, to pro-freedom leaders for to fund unrest in Kashmir.
Sources say city traders estimate a price of goods at almost double that is actually paid to them by traders in Pakistan. Prices appear to be legal on papers. Traders channel the sum, keeping their share of the commission.
The agency is also probing claims that say the large-scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India has been taking place through the import of goods, including almonds from California. NIA found that food items are imported from Pakistan at very low prices and sold at double in India. A Huge quantity of California almonds, traded between India and Pakistan, are sourced at Rs 350 from Pakistan and sold at Rs 650 in India.
There are a select set of traders who work on the payrolls of terrorist organisations to take care of trades, the profit of which funds terror. NIA also found a list of 21 items that are being imported by Pak traders at a very low cost, the highest profit margin being drawn from California almonds.
Majority of the items traded with Pakistan are grown or manufactured in Kashmir making it easier to route money. NIA claims that such trade is a threat to the national security as the offence involved is of raising funds for militant acts, which is punishable under Section 17 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, a scheduled offence under the NIA Act, 2008.
NIA on Sunday conducted fresh raids in the residences of separatist leaders etc., seizing foreign currency. On Saturday it raided 29 locations and recovered unaccounted account books, Rs 2 crore of cash and letterheads of banned terror groups such as the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.
During the searches, a few thousand Pakistani currencies belonging to the UAE and Saudi Arabia as well as incriminating documents were found and seized.
NIA also alleged that since the Cross-Line of Control trade at Kashmir’s Uri and Jammu’s Chakan-da-bad was based on a barter system, some businessmen under- or over-invoiced their bills, and the difference in payment was later used for promoting subversive activities in the Valley.