Nagpur/New Delhi: On the eve of one year of demonetisation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seized one of the biggest haul of demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. However more worrying is the fact that the recovery was done in connection with NIA’s probe into Jammu and Kashmir terror funding. As many as nine people including Jaswinder Singh of Nagpur have been arrested and the amount of Rs 36.34 crore in old notes have been arrested.
Sources said nine persons arrested are “agents” who were collecting money at reduced rates from various persons and were converting the money into new notes with the help of some bank officials.
A pan-India network, which also had connections with separatists seeking to convert old notes, was active and still collecting old notes.
The arrested persons have been identified as Delhi-residents Pradeep Chauhan, Bhagwan Singh and Vinod Shreedhar Shetty, Mumbai-based Deepak Toprani, Ejajul Hassan of Amroha, Jaswinder Singh of Nagpur, and Jammu and Kashmir-residents Umar Mushtaq Dar (Pulwama), Shahnawaz Mir (Srinagar) and Majid Yousuf Sofi (Anantnag). Sources say that they all had decided to meet on Monday afternoon near YM CA on Jai Singh Road.
Seven of them were intercepted by an NIA team when they were carrying 28 cartons filled with demonetised Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes in four vehicles -BMW X3, Hyundai Creta SX, Ford EcoSport and BMW X1, NIA spokesperson inspector general Alok Mittal said. Three others were caught later in the evening. An NIA official said counting machines were used till Tuesday morning to count the notes. He said that total seized demonetised currency is worth Rs 36,34,78,500.
During the probe, Mittal said, it emerged that people and entities linked to separatists and terrorists were still in possession of a significant amount of demonetised currency notes that could not be converted into new ones.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday said the aim of the security forces was to neutralise all terrorists in Kashmir, irrespective of their identity, after Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar’s nephew and two other militants were killed in a gunfight in Pulwama.
Gen Rawat also said the recovery of a US Army-issue M4 carbine, which is used by NATO forces in Afghanistan, from the militants after the encounter on Monday night showed the Jaish terrorists were clearly getting support from the other side of the border in a reference to Pakistan. “The counter-terror operations are going on. They will continue. If any terrorist carries out activities that put the life and property of our citizens at risk, if they target any building, police station or the Army, they are troubling the citizens,” he said.