Srinagar: The State Investigation Agency (SIA) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police carried out raids at eight places on Saturday in a case related to collection of funds by Maulvi Sarjan Barkati, the face of “anti-national” protests in 2016, and using the same for personal gains, officials said. Barkati is ill-famous for mobilising thousands onto streets during the 2016 violent agitation, through his incendiary oratory. Known as the pied piper, Sarjan Barkati used to openly invite and incite youth to take to violence and pull down the Indian state in J&K. SIA has registered a case FIR No 02/23 related to Crowd funding against Sarjan Barkati and others in which he has raised huge funds amounting to more than 1.5 Crore, with his family making emotional appeals to the public to support them for day-to-day needs. 

Under this garb, he not only generated huge funds, but prima facia also laundered money coming from unknown sources suspected to have originated from terror outfits for further use in sustaining the secessionist-terrorist campaign.

So far SIA has identified 10 suspects whose involvement has surfaced in the initial investigation. The early morning raids spread over many districts of Kashmir are underway.

Each search is backed by search warrants issued by a competent court, Magistrates, local police assistance, lady police team, spotters, and transport support by the Security wing of J&K police.

With the seizures of electronic gadgets, incriminating material and other corroborative evidence during these searches, SIA is hopeful that the searches would enable it to extract some vital evidence as to who all have contributed to the Sarjan Barkati fund, what was the source of such money, how much of it was from legitimate income and how much from unaccountable sources, whether such sources had anything to do with terror and Hurriyat finances.

Preliminary investigations have shown Sarjan Barkati has diverted a substantial part of the funds for his personal benefit and purchased a piece of land worth ₹45 Lakhs in Anantnag town in the name of his wife which he sold for ₹72 Lakhs, making a profit of ₹27 Lakhs, and has also built a palatial house using public money.

He has also purchased 5 Kanals of land to establish a Madrassa which as per credible information is meant for making money and providing a platform to anti-national elements and aimed to be a breeding ground for luring youth towards terrorism. 

A large chunk of such ill-gotten money has been deposited in several FDRs in the name of his family members. Not only has the accused breached the public trust with emotional blackmail by building a personal fortune on the crowd funds donated to him by the public for daily sustenance, but he also as well camouflaged money coming from suspects sources under the garb of crowdfunding for the furtherance of secessionist-terrorists campaign.

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