As part of its crackdown on Kashmiri separatist leaders for their alleged involvement in funding terror activities, the NIA on Sunday questioned a Jammu activist and businessman, Devinder Singh Behal, who is considered close to Syed Ali Shah Geelani and regularly seen at funerals of slain militants.

The National Investigation Agency said it conducted searches at the Jammu residence and office of Behal, the Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Social Peace Forum (JKSPF). The JKSPF is a constituent of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani.

Four mobile phones, a tablet, some electronic devices, incriminating documents and financial documents were recovered during the search operations, NIA statement said.

“The questioning by NIA teams is going on,” it said.

The NIA claimed that Behal is a member of the legal cell of the Geelani-led Hurriyat. “He is a close associate of a top Hurriyat leader and regularly attends funerals of militants.”

The agency said it was investigating Behal’s role “as a courier as he is suspected to be involved in routing funds to the separatist leaders from Pakistan-based handlers”.

Earlier, the NIA arrested eight separatists for funding terror in the Kashmir Valley. These include Shabir Shah, Altaf Shah, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Mehraj Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam, Naeem Khan and Bitta Karate.

The accused on remand with the NIA for custodial interrogation have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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