The J&K State Investigation Agency (SIA) began a search operation at eight different locations on Saturday to investigate the recipients of slush funds flowing through the known secessionist Maulavi Sarjan Barkati in south Kashmir. They reported that SIA detectives, assisted by police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, conducted the searches. The officials stated that the searches were part of an ongoing investigation into a terror funding case.
Earlier this year, the SIA, a division of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, filed a case against Barkati to investigate the collection of funds and his “anti-national” speeches.
It is estimated that more than Rs 1.5 crore was raised through crowdfunding and from sources suspected of terrorism and used for personal gain, profiteering, and the advancement of secessionist and terrorist campaigns.
A slush fund is a fund or account maintained by companies, governments, political parties (or even individuals) that is not properly accounted for, allowing money from this account to be used for illicit activities while concealing their traceability. Generally, such funds are concealed and kept apart from any money used for legitimate purposes.
Since slush funds are secret accounts, money is transferred into accounts under someone else’s name and concealed in difficult-to-find places.
Numerous slush funds are also secretly held in foreign banks, where they are shielded by ‘legal’ facades such as confidentiality laws.
Since the conclusion of the Second World War, secession and secessionist movements have multiplied. The objective of a secession attempt, whether violent or peaceful, is the formation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory from which it seceded.
Maulavi Sarjan Barkati of South Kashmir is notorious for inciting thousands to take to the streets during 2016’s violent protests with his incendiary rhetoric.
Sarjan Barkati, also known as the pied piper, used to openly invite and incite youth to engage in violence and overthrow the Indian state in J&K.
The SIA has thus far identified ten suspects whose involvement in the initial investigation has been uncovered. The early morning raids across multiple districts in Kashmir continue.
With the seizures of electronic devices, incriminating material, and other corroborating evidence, the SIA is hopeful that it will be able to obtain vital leads, such as whether these funds had any connection to terrorism or Hurriyat finances.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that Barkati used a substantial portion of the funds for his own personal gain, purchasing a plot of land in the name of his wife for Rs 45 lakh in the town of Anantnag, which he then sold for Rs 72 lakh for a profit of Rs 27 lakh, and also constructing a palatial home with public funds.
He has also purchased five kanals of land for the establishment of a madrassa, which, according to credible information, is intended to generate income, provide a platform for anti-national elements, and serve as a hotspot for terrorism.
A substantial amount of this ill-gotten money has allegedly been deposited in multiple FDRs under the names of Barkati’s relatives.
Not only has the accused violated the public trust through emotional blackmail by amassing a personal fortune with the funds donated to him for daily sustenance, but he has also concealed money from suspicious sources under the guise of crowdfunding for the advancement of secessionist-terrorist campaigns, according to the officials.