Got Nawaz Sharif to attend Modi’s oath ceremony, Watali tells NIA

New Delhi: Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, arrested in a case of allegedly funding Hurriyat, has claimed to have played a key role in getting the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony as Prime Minister in 2014.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Watali on August 17 from Srinagar on allegations of ‘funding terror’ and resistance organisation Hurriyat Conference.

He has been dropping to sleuths big names, including those of politicians, bureaucrats and intelligence officials, a report in DNA, a online news agency was quoted saying.

According to NIA, Watali is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to resistance leaders, militants and stone-pelters.

He was earlier arrested in 1990 by the Jammu & Kashmir police. He was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Gani Lone, Bilal Lone and others, and was jailed for eight months at Jammu.

NIA was granted a 10-day custody of Watali for further investigation.

NIA registered a case on May 30 this year to probe links of resistance leaders of Hurriyat Conference and funding of ‘terror’ outfits in Kashmir.

Watali is the eighth person to be arrested in the ‘terror funding’ case with seven others, including Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah, taken into custody earlier.

Watali was arrested a day after NIA raided several locations in Srinagar, Handwara, Kupwara and Baramulla that belong to his relatives and employees.

“The searches have unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities,” NIA said in a statement.

These are classic criminal tactics that such criminals use, NIA said. We have seen many such cases, they added.

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