The NIA also conducted raids on their and other separatist leaders houses after a formal FIR was registered following alleged admission in a sting operation by Nayeem Ahmad Khan, chairman of National Front (NF) that separatists were receiving funds for terror activities in Kashmir from overseas. Both the drivers raided by the NIA are employed by Watali.
The case was registered over raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The searches have disclosed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities.
The arrest comes after the agency conducted extensive raids across 12 locations in Srinagar and parts of North Kashmir in connection with the case.
He was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Gani Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months at Jammu.
The property documents seized have shown huge amount of cas transactions in sale and purchase.Importantly, Zahoor Watali has illegally encroached upon huge government land at various places including near Srinagar airport as well.
Watali was also accused of travelling on an invalid passport "despite having full knowledge of its being invalid/cancelled".
It said instead of surrendering the cancelled passport to the authorities, he travelled overseas on it on March 21, 2016, in violation of the law. Other arrested are Nayeem Khan, Ayaz Akbar Khanday, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah (all from Geelani's faction of Hurriyat), Shahid-ul-Islam (of the Hurriyat faction led by the Mirwaiz) and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karatay of a faction of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.
On July 26, the ED arrested senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), a constituent of hardline Hurriyat Conference (HC) headed by Geelani.
The NIA registered the case on May 30, accusing separatist and secessionist leaders of being involved with terrorist groups.