J&K Police Says Bitcoin Trade Used by Militants, Raids 7 Residences
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: NDTV
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir State Intelligence Agency (SIA) on Wednesday said that the insurgent groups are funnelling money through Bitcoin in the region, in the wake of which the agency carried out raids in several areas of the union territory.
The J&K police, according to an official, conducted searches at multiple locations across Jammu and Kashmir. These raids were carried out in the residences of various suspects in Mendhar and Poonch areas of Pir Panjal Valley and in Baramulla, Kupwara and Handwara areas of North Kashmir.
They were searched in connection with an 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, the police later said in a statement.
The police said that it searched the residences of Zahida Bano, a resident of Hajinaka village in Manigah Hyhama area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara, Gh Mujataba Deedad of Lone Hari village of Kupwara, Tamjeeda Begum of Satkoji village of Rajwara in Handwara, Yasir Ahmad Mir of Dewan Bagh, Baramulla and Mohammad Sayed Masoodi of Tragpora area of Baramulla. The SIA also claimed similar searches at Farooq Ahmad of Mandi’s Gagrian village of Poonch and Imran Chowdhary of Dharana, Mendhar in Pir Panjal valley.
During searches conducted today, the police said they recovered "incriminating material” believed to be hidden in digital devices, SIM cards, mobile and documents having a bearing on the investigation that have been recovered and seized.
According to the officials of the SIA, the case pertains to "terror financing via Bitcoin trade", which is under investigation at the initial stage. The agency is following the trail of a suspect who is believed to be based in Pakistan.
“The mastermind, with the active support of Pakistani intelligence agencies and in connivance with a proscribed terrorist organisation(s) based in Pakistan, has been pumping slush money to their agents in J&K for further distribution among terrorist organisation(s), secessionist(s) for fuelling mass violence and terrorist activities in J&K,” an official spokesperson said.
The J&K police said they had identified the individual, who they believe is the "mastermind". Still, his identity is being kept confidential to thwart any attempt to alert his associates in the region.
The investigation so far has revealed evidence that the money suspected to have originated from Pakistan has allegedly reached these persons. “The transfer of money has been layered to prevent backward tracing of its origin, the investigation has revealed,” an official statement read.
“While several accounts-in-the-middle that have been used to layer the money is outside J&K, the effective whitewashing of the Pakistani money has taken place through the exploitation of loopholes in the international bitcoin trade," the statement added.
The UT admin established the SIA in November 2021 “for specialised investigation” into cases related to terror that is not referred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Since then, the agency has been continuously carrying out raids in the region as part of the crackdown against those believed to be aiding militancy.
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