After breaking a number of militancy related Hawala links between ISI and operators of terrorism in Kashmir during the last six months, Jammu & Kashmir Police have exposed yet another Islamabad-London-Srinagar connection. This time, it is the editor of a Srinagar-based magazine and a senior producer working for Doordarshan who has been trapped by Srinagar Police.
A J&K Police spokesman here told EXCELSIOR that editor and printer-publisher of a Srinagar magazine ‘Mountain Valley’ , Imtiaz Ahmed Bazaz of Batmaloo, had made a number of visits to Pakistan and other countries during the last 12 years of militancy. He was simultaneously running an insurance claim investigating agency from his Gawkadal office. Bazaz was also operating as a private television producer who had taken huge amounts of money from Doordarshan. The spokesman said that Bazaz’s income and expenditure accounts are under thorough investigation.
According to the Police spokesman, Police sleuths maintained a close watch on the activities and visits of Imtiaz Bazaz since February this year. Following a lead provided by planted sources in a militant organisation, Police came to know that London-based president of World Kashmir Freedom Movement, Dr Ayub Thakur, and Pakistan-based "supreme commander" of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin, had been regularly sending ISI money to Kashmiri militants through Bazaz and his associates.
Imtiaz Bazaz had opened accounts in Standard Chartered Grindlays Bank, Connaught Place, New Delhi, (No: 33348416) in his own name and in Development Credit Bank Ltd, New Delhi, (No: 2924202) in the name of his television production company ‘Valley Media Productions". J&K Police approached Reserve Bank of India to enquire into the accounts and financial transactions of Mr Bazaz.
RBI officials, after inquiring, intimated that on April 22 this year, Bazaz had received remittance of US $ 9966.61 (Rs 4,84,875) from one Mercy Universal, London, in the account of his television production company in Standard Grindlays Chartered Bank. On April 17 this year, a sum of Rs 5.10 Lakh was credited in his account in Development Credit Bank. In the same account, he transferred Rs 5.00 Lakh from his account in Grindlays Bank on April 26 and later withdrew Rs 9.00 Lakh from Development Credit Bank on May 1st. He also withdrew Rs 1.00 Lakh from the same bank on May 3.
The spokesman said that, Bazaz also received yet another installment of Rs 15 Lakh in his account at Development Credit Bank from Dr Ayub Thakur through London-based Barclays Bank on May 21 this year. Interestingly, in his bank account opening form, Bazaz had mentioned himself as a non-Income Tax payee.
Imtiaz Bazaz, with two of his close associates, namely Ghulam Hassan and Abid Hussain, was arrested by Srinagar Police yesterday. During preliminary interrogation, Bazaz confessed that he had approached Dr Ayub Thakur for funneling ISI funds to the Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asia Andrabi. He also confessed that he had been in regular touch with Syed Salahddin and hardliner HM leaders. In this connection, he had been frequently visiting Pakistan, last time in April last year.
According to the Police spokesman, Bazaz revealed that he had been receiving money from Salauddin for delivering the same to Saiful Islam, Hizbul’s chief command of operations, divisional commander Abdul Rashid Dar alias Shardar Peer and district commander (Srinagar) Javed Ahmed Sheikh. Bazaz admitted having received Rs 6,43,000/- as also US $ 1200 from Syed Salahuddin. Mir and Abid confessed that at the behest of Bazaz, they have been in regular touch with Pak ISI and Syed Salahuddin.
Cash worth Rs 6.00 Crore has already been seized by J&K Police while busting different Hawala channels and financial transactions of militant functionaries since December last year. However, the interesting thing in the latest case is that British soil is being used for transportation of money to Kashmiri and Pakistani terrorists via New Delhi. The spokesman said that the matter was being taken up with the British High Commissioner in New Delhi. He said that necessary evidences were being collected against the detainees and they would be prosecuted under FERA violation and other related laws. Possibility of detaining the three persons under POTA was also being examined, he said.
Meanwhile, former Director of Srinagar Doordarshan, Mr Ashraf Sahil, confirmed that Imtiaz Bazaz had taken huge amounts of money as a private producer from Doordarshan stations in Srinagar and New Delhi. When contacted for his comments, Sahil told EXCELSIOR on telephone that Bazaz had been introduced as a private producer by his predecessor, Mr Farooq Nazki, who had given him production work worth Lakhs of Rupees. Sahil claimed that he did not make any payments to Bazaz or his nominees.
Mr Farooq Nazki and present Director of Srinagar Doordarshan, Siraj Ahmed Quraishi were not available for their comments.
Originally published in Excelsior, appeared in kashmir.co.uk