On Friday the NIA custody of four Kashmiri separatists arrested on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan to sponsor terror activities and stone-pelting in Kashmir extended by the Delhi court for 10 days. During the in-camera proceedings, Special Judge O.P. Saini allowed the National Investigation Agency to quiz Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat, alias Peer Saifullah, till August 14.
Allowing the NIA plea to extend the custody of four accused, the court pointed to the serious nature of allegations against them and the large expanse of investigation to be conducted by the agency. The four accused are required to be confronted with evidence gathered, Special Public Prosecutor Siddharth Luthra earlier told the court. Defence counsel Ravi Qazi and Rajat Kumar opposed the NIA plea and said the accused have been falsely implicated in the case and had co-operated with the investigation.
Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate were remanded in judicial custody by the court till September 1. On July 24, the NIA had arrested seven key Kashmiri separatists. Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Peer Saifullah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam and Ayaz Akbar Khandey, were arrested from Srinagar while Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate was arrested from Delhi.
On July 25, the court had sent all seven to 10-day NIA custody. They were booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and waging war against India. Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan, while Islam is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Ayaz Akbar is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.