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J-K police arrest cross-LoC trader for 'hawala payments to militants'

J-K police arrest cross-LoC trader for 'hawala payments to militants'

Author: Mir Ehsan
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: July 10, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/jk-police-arrest-crossloc-trader-for-hawa/487623/

Nine months after trade resumed through the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route, a leading Srinagar businessman has been arrested by the J&K police for alleged hawala payments to overground workers of a militant outfit in lieu of goods received from PoK via the Kaman bridge.

Police sources claimed that the businessman paid Rs 10 lakh in three transactions. The police are also examining records of eight other businessmen who they suspect made similar hawala payments.

The Special Operations Group of the police also raided the Trade Facilitation Centre at Salamabad, Uri and seized documents related to cross-LoC trade. "Yes, the police have taken away all records of seven-eight Kashmiri traders who have been receiving and sending consignments to PoK since the start of trade from Kaman Uri," Mohammad Ashraf Wani, custodian, cross-LoC trade, told The Indian Express.

"Police have sought details of all consignments imported and exported via Kaman bridge. In the last few months, trade had been picking up. If the hawala transactions are established, it will affect trade," Wani said.

Cross-LoC trade which presently runs on a barter system came under police scanner after the arrest of overground workers of a militant outfit in Sopore. On being questioned, these men reportedly said they received

Rs 10 lakh from a Srinagar businessman in three different instalments. Sources said they even confronted the trader in police custody regarding the money he paid them.

Sources said the trader received consignments worth Rs 30 lakh from Chikoti (Muzaffarabad) but dispatched goods worth Rs 20 lakh to PoK. The trader was told by his Pakistani counterpart to hand the remaining Rs 10 lakh to the overground workers, the sources said.

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