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J&K cops arrest Jaish overground worker deported from Qatar, say he raised money for outfit

Muneeb Ahmad Sofi is accused of collecting money for JeM at international level. He was taken into custody at IGI Airport in New Delhi after Qatar deported him.

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police Friday arrested an overground worker of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, who was deported from Qatar where he was allegedly involved in anti-India activities.

The accused, Muneeb Ahmed Sofi, was arrested from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Sofi, according to senior police officers, is a resident of Kanelwan village of Bejbehara area in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district and was working with a private company in Qatar.

“A top OGW (overground worker) of banned terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad, Muneeb Ahmad Sofi, s/o Bilal Ahmad Sofi, r/o Kanelwan Bejbehara, has been arrested by a team of Kulgam police from IGI Airport, New Delhi this morning after his deportation from Qatar. Role of the said OGW surfaced in FIR no 58/2020 U/S 13, 18, 19, 38, 39 ULA(P) Act,” the police said in a statement issued Friday evening.

The police also claimed that another accused arrested in the same case (FIR no 58/2020 U/S 13, 18, 19, 38, 39 ULA(P) Act) earlier had disclosed how he, along with other overground workers, collected money for JeM from various districts of Kashmir and handed it over to Sofi.

“A look out notice was published against Sofi and a non-bailable warrant u/s 25 Police Act was obtained from the concerned court. Consequent to deportation of the accused from Qatar to India, he was apprehended at IGI Airport and is being brought to Kulgam for further questioning and investigation,” the police statement added.

Also read: Communication blackout, offensive along Kashmir LoC — why Jammu is seeing militancy spike

Sofi’s relative held for giving financial assistance to JeM

A senior police officer, who didn’t want to be named, told ThePrint that Sofi was allegedly in contact with slain JeM commander Waleed Bhai for the purchase of arms and ammunition from Pakistan. Waleed, the officer said, was a resident of Pakistan and was killed in a gun battle in Kashmir last year. Sofi has allegedly been involved in these activities for the past two years.

Another senior police officer told ThePrint that Sofi’s parents were recently summoned and informed about his alleged activities in Qatar.

According to yet another official source, a relative of Sofi was also recently held for providing financial assistance to Waleed. The relative, the source claimed, collected money from within India while Sofi raised funds internationally.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has not listed Qatar as one of the countries with which India has a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that makes extradition of Indian citizens possible. However, Qatar features among 42 nations with which India has bilateral agreements and a memorandum of understanding on ‘Security Cooperation and Prevention of and Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic drugs, Psychotropic substances and Chemical precursors’.

Also read: 2019 communication blackout, Pakistan — why 2020 saw spike in Kashmir youth joining militants


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