SC stays bail of Kashmiri businessman in terror funding case

New Delhi, Sep 14: A day after the Delhi High Court granted bail to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in a terror funding case, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the order.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said it would hear the matter on September 26.

The order came on a plea filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging the Delhi High Court’s order, saying that it has ignored the evidence against Watali.

Appearing for the NIA, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that there were “very serious charges” against the businessman and he should not have been granted bail.

The Agency further contended that documents recovered from the premises of Watali’s accountant have showed that money had been received from Pakistan-based terrorist leaders Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin and the Pakistan High Commission which was distributed to Hurriyat leaders to finance terror activities.

Forensic analysis of Watali’s signature proved his involvement, but the high court ignored the documents as a “piece of paper”,the NIA told the apex court.

A counsel appearing for Watali said he was 75-years-old and has been in jail for months and there were no grounds for the NIA to make a case against him.

Watali, arrested for his alleged role in a terror-funding case involving Saeed, was granted bail by the Delhi High Court on Thursday, directing him to not leave the country without permission.

He had challenged the trial court’s June 8 order rejecting his bail plea.

Watali was arrested on August 17, 2017, and was charge-sheeted by the NIA on January 18 along with Saeed, Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others in the case.

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