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SRINAGAR: The Delhi HC on Thursday granted bail to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, one of the accused in funding case. Watali has to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 2 lakh rupees with two surety of the same amount and also submit his passport. He has been lodged in Tihar jail since his arrest in August last year.

Watali had challenged the trial court’s June 8 order rejecting his bail plea. He was charge-sheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on January 18 along with Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others in the case of alleged funding in the Kashmir Valley. They were charge-sheeted under anti-terror laws for hatching a conspiracy to wage a war against India.

Those arrested on July 24, 2017, are Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah. Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Islam is an aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat.

The NIA probing the funding case had said that Syed Shahid Yousuf had admitted to receiving funds from his father Syed Salahuddin. The NIA added that this was done to foment militant activities in the valley. The Delhi High Court later dismissed the bail plea filed Syed Shahid Yusuf. He was the seventh accused against whom a charge-sheet had been filed in the case. Of the four accused facing trial in the case, three accused people namely Mohammad Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo, and Farooq Ahmad Dagga have already pleaded guilty. 

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