Seven separatists, including Geelani's son-in-law, sent to NIA custody

Seven Kashmiri separatist, including the son-in-law of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, were today sent to 10 days' NIA custody by a Delhi court in a terror funding case on the agency's plea that their custodial interrogation was needed. District Judge Poonam A Bamba passed the remand order while partly allowing the National Investigation Agency's plea which had sought the custody of the accused, arrested yesterday, for 18 days in connection with the probe into a case alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley. The NIA told the court that the accused -- Altaf Ahmed Shah, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmed Dar -- were to be confronted with each other and with other incriminating evidences. It also submitted that they have to be taken to various places for the purpose of investigation. Advocate Rajat Kumar, appearing for the accused, however, opposed the agency' plea saying that the NIA has already been probing the case for one month. Shah, the son-in-law of hardline separatist leader Geelani, was in the custody of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who had put him under preventive detention immediately after the festival of Eid earlier this month. Geelani's close aides Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar and Peer Saifullah were arrested by the NIA from the Valley. Shahid-ul-Islam is the spokesman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. Hafeez Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ul Dawah, the front of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), has been named in the FIR as an accused, besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Dukhtaran-e-Milat. The houses of those arrested had been raided by NIA sleuths last month. The raids were part of the NIA's efforts at clamping down on separatist groups allegedly receiving funds for subversive activities in the Valley. The NIA had claimed that it recovered account books, Rs two crore in cash and letterheads of banned terror groups, including of the LeT and the HM, during the raids.