New Delhi: Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, the alleged chief financier of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) head Hafiz Saeed, allegedly owns a 23-storey building at Porchester Place, Westminster Council, London, a luxury flat at the NRI colony in south Delhi and a construction company in Dubai among a host of properties that he has allegedly bought across the country and abroad.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case, has made a list of these properties and is set to pass on their details to the Enforcement Directorate for further investigation.
Investigative agencies believe that most of these properties have been bought with money routed through hawala channels from the UAE to carry out terror activities in India.
“During the investigation in the case and after questioning a host of people, we came across several properties that were purchased by Watali, some in his name and others in different names,” a source in the intelligence said.
“These properties were either purchased with the money pumped in for terror-related activities or funds received as perks for such activities on Indian soil,” the source added.
“These properties are under the scanner as Watali’s income cannot justify the purchase of such real estate, including the ones in prime locations in London and UAE.”
Watali was arrested by the NIA in August last year in connection with the J&K terror funding case.
The ED had earlier attached a villa in Gurgaon that was allegedly in Watali’s name and investigators believe that the property was bought with funds from the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a Pakistan-based trust run by Saeed. Investigators also believe that most of these properties were bought by Watali at the behest of Saeed.
According to the NIA, Watali owns land of 605 square yards and of 181 square yards in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara district, shops at Bhagatpora village in the district and more land measuring 11,495 square yards at Katswari village in the same district. He also allegedly owns land at Narbal in Srinagar.
The NIA list further claims that Saeed’s financier owns a house in Tawi Vihar in Sirda, Jammu, a 20-22 room house on a plot measuring 3,267 square yards in Barzullah, Srinagar, and another flat at the NRI complex in New Delhi, apart from a villa and a flat in DLF city in Gurgaon.
Apart from shops, Watali allegedly owns industrial property, including a ply board factory in Zainakote, Srinagar, and more industrial real estate in Shalteng, adjacent to the fruit market in Parimora, Srinagar.
Of his international properties, Watali owns the palatial house in London and a construction company, Trison International, in Dubai.
NIA yet to establish a direct link
According to another source in the NIA, these properties have been identified but it is yet to be established if they were bought from the money pumped in for terror-related activities. The ED will now probe the trail of how these properties were purchased.
“Properties that are attached are those for which we are able to establish the money trail including where the money came from and how it was invested to buy these assets,” the source said. “We are currently looking at a host of properties and the matter is under investigation.”
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