The Jammu and Kashmir State Investigation Agency (SIA) on Wednesday conducted searches at 22 locations in Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi in connection with a case of hawala transactions in the country. The SIA said that illegal raising, layering and laundering of funds was being done by certain individuals and entities, who used the funds for illegal activities including promoting separatism and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a press release issued by the SIA, searches were conducted at 18 locations in Srinagar, one each in Anantnag and Pulwama and two locations in Delhi. The agency seized incriminating material such as bank documents, cash books, credit cards, debit cards, chequebooks, challans, mobile phones, SIM cards, passports and other items during the operation.
SIA Kashmir registered the case based on an investigation which revealed that a sum of Rs 85 crore was raised and laundered in less than two years. The SIA said the transactions were mostly done in cash to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies.
The SIA said the case relates to illegal hawala transactions, a form of informal money transfer system that operates outside banking channels. The agency said it is committed to dismantling the terror ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir by shutting down terror financing channels – be it hawala, human cash couriers or banking channels.
The raid was conducted on the basis of a search warrant issued by a special designated NIA court to collect evidence related to the ongoing investigation in the case.
Hawala transactions have come to light recently after BJP accused Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel of receiving hawala funds from illegal betting app operators. BJP alleged that this money was used for Congress’s election campaign in Chhattisgarh. These allegations came in the wake of the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation into the Mahadev betting app scam.