‘Plays a pivotal role in achieving zero terrorism in J&K’
Srinagar, Oct 31: The State Investigation Agency (SIA) Jammu & Kashmir has completed its two years of existence since its constitution on 1 November 2021.
The agency was primarily tasked to investigate and prosecute terror-related cases in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and designated as the nodal agency for coordinating with central agencies like NIA, NCB, ED, CBI, IT, etc.
SIA considers itself as a dedicated ally and integral part to the country’s anti-terror law enforcement establishment and has successfully led its substantial assistance in various important cases (Mirwaiz Killing etc.) to India’s national investigating agencies like NIA, CBI, ED etc. which has reinforced the efforts of all agencies in India’s fight against terrorism.
In these two years, SIA J&K has established itself as a premier agency of the UT for investigation and prosecution of terror related cases and has accomplished its several defined objectives within its mandate. During this period, the agency registered 45 cases and took over additional 12 cases from other police stations of J&K for further investigation. Agency has successfully charge sheeted 31 cases bringing perpetrators to justice, and arrested 99 accused persons.
The agency has successfully investigated a wide range of cases pertaining to espionage, terror financing, narco-terrorism, terror acts, and minority killings. Notably, the agency unearthed the modus operandi and larger criminal conspiracy of adversaries involved in financing terrorism through proceeds of narcotics, use of crypto-currencies, etc.
While investigating the Sanjay Sharma murder case, SIA unearthed the larger criminal conspiracy behind the minority killings by arresting nine accused persons involved in facilitation, harboring and training of the trigger puller, who also got eliminated later in an encounter with security forces. SIA has played a pivotal role in investigating 9 different cases related to SIM cards found to be misused for perpetuation of unlawful acts, revealing vulnerabilities in the SIM issuance process. This led to the implementation of a more secure mechanism for SIM issuance thereby enhancing national security.
In another very important terror financing (Babu Singh) case, 9 accused persons were arrested and a hawala network involved in terror financing was busted in which terrorist sympathizers in J&K were operating through Dubai using crypto wallets. The agency was successful in busting a narco-terror module by digging deep into a larger criminal conspiracy hatched by the lynchpin (a woman OGW of proscribed terrorist organization). Investigation exposed the cross LOC narcotics and drugs smuggling module operating under a well-knit criminal conspiracy with active support and connivance of agencies of Pakistan hostile to India.
SIA J&K also managed to defeat the evil designs of enemy by arresting a mole in the force who in connivance with terrorist organizations and the agencies of Pakistan was providing vital information and documents pertaining to security forces and important installations to the enemy thereby helping secessionist agencies to wage war against India. Agency uncovered the designs of enemy nations attempting to unite various secessionist groups and rejuvenate them. Furthermore, numerous over-ground worker and terror modules were busted, disrupting their activities.
Taking stringent measures to curb the terror ecosystem, during this period, SIA conducted raids at 166 locations across the Union Territory of J&K. Following the legal process of attachment of properties used for anti-national activities 217 properties associated with Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), an unlawful association in India, were identified out of which 57 properties were notified under UAPA provisions, which significantly weakened the logistics of the proscribed outfit. A house of one accused person namely Amarbir Singh @ Gopi Mahal resident of Baba Darshan Singh Enclave Mahal Ram Tirth Road Amritsar was attached.
Pursuing its larger objective of taking investigation and prosecution of terror related cases to its logical conclusions, investigation of three decades old case of murder of NeelKanth Ganjoo is being actively pursued demonstrating its unwavering commitment and resolve to deliver justice in all terror incidents, no matter how old they may be.
The agency in an enquiry uncovered a module involved in laundering of illegal proceeds and its use in unlawful activities. The inquiry resulted in registration of a formal criminal case. During investigation SIA unveiled money laundering to the tune of more than Rs. 85 crores. The case is under active investigation and SIA reiterates its commitment in bringing all the involved to justice besides unraveling the broader nexus behind this act.
A large number of movable properties including 6 cars, 1 truck, 1 Tata Mobile, 2 scooties, 1 motorcycle and electronic gadgets like laptops, mobile phones, SIM cards and arms, ammunition used in different terrorist activities were seized in different cases.
In a resounding blow to terror financing, SIA J&K froze INR 1,21,84,382 in 134 bank accounts, believed to be proceeds of crime, and seized INR 5,19,86,810 in cash. Pakistani currency worth 9,820 and 15,000 US Dollars were also seized during this period. The agency’s anti-narcotics efforts led to the seizure of narcotics weighing 72 Kgs, 953 gms heroine, 07 kilograms poppy straw, 04 kg poppy seeds, 800 grams brown sugar and 1Kg, 794 gms contraband like substances were seized in 08 different cases registered across the UT of J&K.
In pursuance to its larger objective and mandate of achieving zero terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, agency has initiated a special drive to trace all absconders of terrorism related cases including old TADA/POTA cases and produce them before the concerned TADA/POTA Courts for facing the trial under law. The agency has identified 734 absconders of TADA/POTA cases, out of which 369 have been verified, 82 traced at home. Of these traced, the agency arrested 10 absconding terrorists and their associates involved in serious crimes of terrorism and disruptive activities involved in TADA cases registered around three decades ago in different Police Stations of district Doda and chargesheeted in the TADA/POTA Court Jammu.
These absconding terrorists had managed to escape from the clutches of law for decades by going underground and remaining untraced for some time and then re-surfaced to enjoy normal family life at their native or some distant places. Some of these terrorist absconders even managed to get Government services and contracts while others were found engaged in private businesses.
SIA has also been mandated to explore the possibilities of undertaking further investigation or re-investigation in cases of mass murders, minority killings and cases of murders of security forces personnel and judicial officers wherein investigation either has not been done properly or further investigation is needed to deliver justice to the victims.
While taking action against high-profile terror sympathizers operating internationally, the agency got suspended 7 passports and impounded 2 passports and issued 17 look out circular (LoC). For the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, 3 black notices for identification of dead bodies of Pakistan terrorists were got issued.
SIA has unleashed a significant crackdown on the ‘Pakistani sponsored false propaganda online and offline machinery’ in J&K which has been the prime reason for radicalization of youth and recruitment in terrorist ranks. The agency endeavors to continue its efforts by using ‘rigor of law’ to take down all those who perpetuate or attempt to indulge in online secessionism or terrorism, so as to contribute to peace and order of the Union Territory of J&K.
During the last two years, SIA J&K has not only met its mandate but exceeded expectations in its two years of inception, making a loud impact on the security landscape in the region. The agency remains committed to its mission of safeguarding the peace and security of the nation and achieving zero terrorism in J&K in particular and in the country as a whole.
The agency is all set to achieve new heights by ensuring professional and quality investigation of all terrorism related cases, smashing the over ground workers network of terrorists within and outside the U.T of J&K to wipe out terrorism completely.
SIA has made substantial progress in establishing involvement of an ex-MLA of a regional political of J&K who had facilitated transportation of namely Mohammed Amin Baba @ Abid, the then Divisional Commander of Hizb ul Mujahideen (HM) in the official allotted vehicle of the ex-MLA from Kashmir to Wagah / Attari border enabling his crossing over to Pakistan on fake identity on forged travel and identity documents.
Through investigation and enquiries, the agency also un-earthed intricate modus operandi adopted by Pakistan based terror handlers to domestically generate terror funds from sale of seats of MBBS and other professional courses for admission in Pakistan based Institutions to students from Kashmir and divert funds so raised into terrorist and secessionist activities in J&K.
Taking note of the findings of SIA investigation, the National Medical Council (NMC), notified that any Indian National intending to take admission in MBBS or equivalent medical courses in any medical college of Pakistan shall not be eligible for appearing in FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduates Examination) or seeking employment in India. This step served the dual purpose of stopping the infusion of funds into the unlawful activities and significantly diminished the influence of J&K based Pak sympathizers/ Hurriyat leaders who used to refer students for the medical courses to keep the separatist sentiment alive.
It is pertinent to mention that many of these students who travelled to Pakistan on valid travel documents at the instance if their handlers in Pakistan and in Kashmir underwent terrorist training and got killed in anti-terrorism encounters with security forces while infiltrating back into the Indian Territory. This investigation not only stopped the raising of terror funds but also saved many Kashmiri youths from becoming terrorists and losing their lives.
In furtherance of its commitment and conviction to enforce rule of law, SIA successfully investigated an important case wherein a religious preacher ‘Barkati’, who was the poster face of 2016 unrest which took several lives of innocents and caused a large scale damage to public and private properties; was collecting money as a ‘charity’ and accumulated huge wealth worth crores part of which was used in sustaining secessionist in the valley. The case became an eye opener for the common masses to be cautious in ‘crowd funding’ which can end up in the hands of terrorists or secessionists against the security interests of the country.
To ensure quality prosecution of terror related cases in Jammu and Kashmir, on recommendations of the SIA so far 7 Special Public Prosecutors including 1 DDP and 2 CPOs from Jammu and Kashmir Prosecution Service and four advocates of illustrious profile have been notified under section 15 of the NIA Act for conducting prosecution of 28 UAPA cases (including 13 legacy cases) investigated and charge sheeted by the SIA in different 12 Special Courts for UAPA offences constituted by the State Government in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir under the NIA Act.
In order to avoid terrorists and their associates enjoying the fruits of proceeds of this heinous crime, SIA has been instrumental in getting proscribed / designated from the Central Government several individual terrorists (DITs) and 3 terrorist organisations (DTOs), thereby enabling provision of section 51-A of the UAPA to operate and freeze assets of these designated terrorists.
With establishment of the SIA, quality of investigation and prosecution of the terror related cases has improved to a great extent, as a result number of accused released on bail in such cases has drastically gone down and those being released are under stringent bail conditions.