NIA conducts multiple raids in Jammu and Kashmir Poonch

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted searches in nine locations in Jammu and Kashmir as part of its ongoing investigation into a large-scale money transfer from Pakistan to India through the import of California almonds (badam giri) through the Cross Line of Control (LOC) trade routes, the agency said.

The NIA, with the assistance of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Central Reserve Police and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, conducted the searches in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir in the premises of suspected LoC traders in connection with the case.

During the searches, the NIA seized various documents, digital devices and other incriminating material from the premises of the suspects.

The import of almonds from California has been facilitated by trans-LdC Trade Facilitation Centers (CFTs) located in Salamabad and Uri in Baramulla district and Chakkan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district.

The NIA filed a first information report (FIR) on December 16, 2016 and launched an investigation after the order of the Union Ministry of the Interior of December 9, 2016 on the basis of information regarding the funding of the terrorism via inter-LOC trade routes.

Considering the violation of the policy of banning trade in “third party foreign goods” through this mechanism and that these funds were being used to promote terrorism and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir, the NIA recorded the case under Article 17 of illegal activities (Prevention).

The central government had received reports that a large-scale remittance transfer from Pakistan to India via the import of almonds from California via the trans-LOC Trade Facilitation Centers (TFCs) located in Salamabad, Uri and Chakkan-Da-Bagh.

LoC trade began in 2008 as part of a confidence-building measure between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Trade was based on a barter system and goods from third parties were not allowed.

The NIA interviewed several government employees stationed at TFC in the Uri region in 2017, but officials did not disclose details on whether detectives could have found anything incriminating.

The NIA estimates that a percentage of the profits instead of cross-border trade is used to fund activism in the valley.

The NIA’s investigation into the case found that some of the traders with excess imports funneled excess profits generated to terrorist organizations while others are believed to have links and relationships with banned terrorist organizations.

This was the first time that the role of TFC employees had intervened in a terrorist financing case, as these centers are government-built facilities that neglect trade logistics between two countries.

The TFCs located in Salamabad, Uri and Chakkan-da-Bagh are among the facilities that have been scanned by the NIA.

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Posted on: Sunday October 03, 2021 13:33 IST

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