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ED attaches Gurugram villa ‘owned by Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed’

Author: Ananya Bhardwaj
Publication: The Print
Date: March 11, 2019
URL:      https://theprint.in/governance/ed-attaches-gurugram-villa-owned-by-lashkar-chief-hafiz-saeed/204391/

Enforcement Directorate says villa bought by Hafiz Saeed's financier Ahmad Shah Watali, believes funds came from Lashkar chief's Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation.

The Enforcement Directorate has attached property in Gurugram worth crores that allegedly belongs to Hafiz Saeed, chief of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, ThePrint has learnt.

According to a source in the agency, the property, a villa, was bought by Saeed’s alleged financier, the Kashmir-based businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali. Watali was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in August last year in connection with a terror funding case.

The ED also believes that the villa was bought with funds from the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a Pakistan-based trust run by Saeed. The investigative agencies believe that the villa was bought with money routed from the UAE, through hawala channels, to carry out terror activities in India.

The ED has attached the villa as part of its probe into a case that it had registered against the FIF, under sections of money laundering, in February.

The ED case was prompted by an NIA investigation into a September 2018 case, which allegedly found that one Salman had received funds from the FIF in Pakistan and also from the UAE for terror activities in India.

“The attachment is being made in connection with the case that is being investigated by NIA. After a thorough investigation, we have been able to establish the money trail including where the money came from and how it was invested to buy these properties. So we have been able to establish the proceeds of the crime,” a source in the agency said. “These properties include palatial bungalows, villas and high-end apartments.”

24 properties in various names

According to the same source, the agency has zeroed in on 24 properties that are allegedly owned by Saeed.

“We have identified and made a list of over 24 properties that are owned by Saeed in various names and those too will soon be attached,” he said.

The source added that the money to buy these properties was routed through the UAE.

“While establishing the money trail, we found that the money to buy these properties came from Dubai and was then invested through Watali in different names,” the source said. “We also have accessed records, including bank accounts to establish the same.”
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