State Investigation Agency (SIA) on Wednesday searched houses of seven persons in three districts of Jammu and Kashmir in a case related to militancy financing via Bitcoin trade.
“House premises of suspects in Mendhar Poonch, Baramulla, Kupwara were searched in connection with investigation of case FIR No.12/22 U/S 18, 38, 39 UA (P) Act, 120-B, 121,121-A IPC registered in Counter Intelligence Police Station in Srinagar,” police said in a statement issued to GNS.
The case, the police said, pertains to militancy financing via Bitcoin trade. “Details that are being investigated into at the initial stage include a mastermind in Pakistan who with active support of Pakistani intelligence agencies and in connivance with (militant) organization(s) based in Pakistan has been pumping slush money to their agents in J&K for further distribution among (militant) organisation(s), secessionist(s) for fueling mass violence and (militant) activities in J&K.”
The “Pakistani mastermind”, police said, has been “comprehensively identified”. However, it said, his particulars are being kept confidential because other agents connected with him are not alerted.
The police said the houses searched today include that of Ms. Zahida Bano daughter of Mutwali Pathan/ Khan R/O Hajinaka Manigah Hyhama, Kupwara; Ghulam Mujataba Deedad son of Ghulam Nabi Deedad of Lone Hari, Kupwara; Tamjeeda Begum wife of Javid Ahmad Chachi of Satkoji Rajwara, Handwara (Kupwara), Yasir Ahmad Mir son of Shamas-ud-Din Mir of Dewan Bagh Baramulla; Mohammad Sayed Masoodi son of Shariefud-Din of Trajpora, Baramulla; Farooq Ahmad of Gagrian, Mandi Poonch and Imran Chowdhary of Dharana Mendhar.
“Preliminary investigation revealed evidence that the dirty money originating from Pakistan has reached these persons”.
It said the investigation has revealed that the transfer of money has been layered to prevent backward tracing of its origin. “While several accounts-in-the-middle that have been used to layer the money are outside J&K, the effective whitewashing of the Pakistani money has taken place through exploitation of loopholes in the international bitcoin trade.”
During searches conducted today, the police said, incriminating material “believed to be hidden in digital devices, SIM cards, Mobile Phones and documents, having a bearing on the investigation have been recovered and seized.”
“Analysis of the data and questioning of suspects would follow and leads that would emerge would become the basis of further investigation,” it added. (GNS)