Shabir Shah’s co-accused was acquitted of terror charges in 2010

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New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Aslam Wani, a Kashmiri trader whose confession is tipped to be a key evidence to prove separatist leader Shabir Shah’s role in terror funding in the valley, was acquitted by a Delhi court in 2010 because Delhi Police had failed to prove that the money recovered from him was meant to be used for subversive activities.

Shah, an associate of hardliner separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, is currently in the custody of Enforcement Directorate after he was arrested on July 25 on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan for subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley.

The case dates back to August 2005 when police arrested alleged hawala dealer Wani. The trader in his disclosure statement confessed that he had passed on money worth Rs 2.25 crore to Shah, according to police records.

The ED had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Wani and Shah in 2007. According to ED officials, Wani is evading summons.

But Shah’s counsel M.S. Khan while opposing the Enforcement Directorate plea seeking extension of his custody told the court on Wednesday that Wani was acquitted of charges of raising funds for terrorist activities by then Additional Sessions Judge Satinder Kumar Gautam on November 25, 2010.

Khan pointed out that Delhi Police had not challenged the judgement in the higher court and now there was no material left to connect Wani with Shah as it was not proved that the money that was recovered was meant to be used for any illegal purpose.

However, Wani was convicted under the charges dealing with Arms Act for possessing a pistol. The court had sentenced Wani to imprisonment already undergone and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 against him. He spent about five years in judicial custody.

The 2010 judgment order copy which is with IANS observed that the “prosecution has also not been able to…establish connectivity of the accused with some militant on the basis of telephonic communications. The prosecution had not presented any telephonic conversations record nor the cell phones have been made case property”.

The judgment said the police had failed to prove that the accused was involved in any criminal conspiracy with any militant group.

While acquitting Wani of the charges of waging war against the country and provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the court observed that the prosecution had failed to prove that the accused had any contacts with an enemy country.

The court had observed that there were “material contradictions and improbabilities” in the evidence led by the prosecution while proving charges dealing with possession of explosive substance.

(Amiya Kumar Kushwaha can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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