Jammu & Kashmir

Sarjan Barkati arrested in ‘fund raising’ case, says SIA

Sarjan Barkati. [File Photo]

Srinagar: State Investigation Agency Kashmir has arrested Sarjan Ahmad Wagay alias Barkati, in case FIR No 02/2023 of police station SIA.

The case pertains to Barkati’s involvement in “orchestrating an extensive fund-raising campaign through crowd funding, resulting in the generation of funds amounting to crores. These funds were subsequently misused, involving money laundering and acquisition of undisclosed assets for propagation of radicalism within the Kashmir valley.”

A top official said that ‘Barkati, also known as “Azadi Chacha,” gained prominence in 2016 following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by armed forces.

Barkati was a central figure in orchestrating large-scale protests, rallies, and clashes with armed forces in 2016, for which more than 30 FIRs were registered against him in various police stations of the valley.

SIA Kashmir said that Barkati managed to raise approximately Rs 1.74 crore through crowd funding campaigns. These funds were ostensibly raised for personal gains and a significant portion of the collected funds was allegedly misused for undisclosed purposes, including possible financing of secessionist and militant activities.

He said during investigation SIA Kashmir has found that “Barkati had not only exploited public sentiment and trust for personal financial gain but also potentially laundered funds from unidentified sources, suspected to have links with militant organizations.”

Furthermore, a substantial portion of the acquired funds had been deposited in various Fixed Deposit Receipts (FDRs) under the names of Barkati’s family members, raising questions about the legitimacy of the sources and utilization of the funds.

“The SIA Kashmir emphasized that Sarjan Barkati’s actions amounted to a betrayal of the public’s trust, as he allegedly manipulated emotional appeals and crowd funding platforms to further personal and potentially illicit agendas. The agency noted that Barkati’s activities not only tarnished the sanctity of crowd funding but also raised serious concerns about the misuse of such resources for promoting separatist-militant activities,” the officer added. (KDC)

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