Bitcoin channel used to push money into J-K to fund terror activities, says SIA

Srinagar: The State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J-K Police on Wednesday conducted raids at multiple locations in the union territory as part of investigations into the use of Bitcoin channel for funding terror activities, police said.

They said a Pakistani mastermind has been pumping slush money to his agents in J-K to fuel mass violence and terrorist activities.

“The SIA today conducted searches at multiple locations spread across J-K. House premises of suspects in Mendhar, Poonch, Baramulla, Kupwara and Handwara were searched in connection with investigation of case FIR No.12/22 U/S 18, 38, 39 UA(P)Act, 120-B, 121,121-A IPC registered in Counter Intelligence Police Station in Srinagar,” a police spokesman said.

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He said the case pertains to terror financing via Bitcoin trade.

“Details that are being investigated into at the initial stage include a mastermind in Pakistan who with active support of Pakistani intelligence agencies and in connivance with proscribed terrorist organisation(s) based in Pakistan has been pumping slush money to his agents in J-K for further distribution among terrorist organisation(s), secessionist(s) for fueling mass violence and terrorist activities,” the spokesman said.

He said the Pakistani mastermind has been identified. However, his particulars are being kept confidential to prevent alerting other agents connected to him, he added.

The searches were carried out in the houses of Zahida Bano, Ghulam Mujataba Deedad, Tamjeeda Begum (all residents of Kupwara district), Yasir Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Sayed Masoodi (both residents of Baramulla), Farooq Ahmad and Imran Chowdhary (residents of Poonch).

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the dirty money originating from Pakistan has reached these persons. The transfer of money has been layered to prevent backward tracing of its origin, the investigation has revealed. While several accounts-in-the-middle that have been used to layer the money are outside J-K, the effective whitewashing of the Pakistani money has taken place through exploitation of loopholes in international Bitcoin trade,” the spokesman added.

He said during searches conducted on Wednesday, incriminating material believed to be hidden in digital devices, SIM cards, mobile phones and documents having a bearing on the investigation have been seized.

Analysis of the data and questioning of suspects would follow, he said.

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