Srinagar: The State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K has launched early morning searches at eight different places to investigate the tributaries and distributaries of slush funds flowing through the known religious cleric Maulavi Sarjan Barkati of south Kashmir, ill famous for mobilising thousands onto streets during 2016 violent agitation, through his incendiary oratory.
Known as pied piper, Sarjan Barkati used to openly invite and incite youth to take to violence and pull down the Indian state in J&K, a statement said.
“SIA have registered a case FIR No 02/23 related to Crowd funding against Sarjan Barkati and others in which he has raised huge funds amounting more than 1.5 Crore, with his family making emotional appeals to general public to support them for day to day needs. Under this garb he not only generated huge funds but prima facia also laundered money coming from unknown sources suspected to have originated from terror outfits for further use in sustaining the secessionist-terrorist campaign,” the statement said.
So far, SIA have identified 10 suspects whose involvement has surfaced in the initial investigation. The early morning raids spread over many districts of Kashmir are underway, it said.
“Each search is backed by search warrants issued by competent court, Magistrates, local police assistance, lady police team, spotters, and transport support by Security wing of J&K police,” it added.
“With the seizures of electronic gadgets, incriminating material and other corroborative evidence during these searches, SIA is hopeful that the searches would enable it to extract some vital evidence as to who all have contributed to the Sarjan Barkati fund, what was the source of such money, how much of it was from legitimate income and how much from unaccountable sources, whether such sources had anything to do with terror and Hurriyat finances.”
Preliminary investigations have shown Sarjan Barkati has diverted a substantial part of the funds for his personal benefit and purchased a piece of land worth Rs 45 Lakhs in Anantnag town in the name of his wife which he sold for Rs 72 Lakhs, making a profit of Rs 27 Lakhs and has also built a palatial house using public money, the statement said.
He has also purchased 5 Kanals of land to establish a Madrassa which as per credible information is meant for making money and provide platform to anti national elements and also aimed to be a breeding ground for luring youth towards militancy, it said.
“A large chunk of such ill-gotten money has been deposited in several FDRs in the name of his family members. Not only has the accused breached the public trust with emotional blackmail by building a personal fortune on the crowd funds donated to him by public for the daily sustenance, he as well camouflaged money coming from suspects sources under the garb of crowd funding for furtherance of secessionist-terrorists campaign,” the statement added.