Hurriyat Funding: NIA detains Jammu lawyer and top Syed Geelani aide Devinder Behal – 5 things to know

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Devinder Singh Behl, a member of the Legal cell of the Hurriyat detained by NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted raids at the residence and office of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s close aide, Devinder Singh Behal. Behal was later detained, news agency ANI reported soon after news of the NIA raids first broke.

Devinder Singh Behal, a small time advocate, is believed to be a member of the legal cell of the Hurriyat. Behal, is a close associate of top Hurriyat leaders and regularly attends funerals of militants.

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A frequent visitor to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Behal is suspected to be involved in routing funds to the separatist leaders from their Pakistan-based handlers.

A DIG woman officer Sonia Narang, is said to have led the NIA team amidst sloganeering by locals supporting Agency’s crackdown on separatists. The team has recovered 4 mobile phones, 1 tablet, electronic devices, incriminating documents, financial papers and some other articles. The recoveries will be sent to Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) which will analyse the forensic and technical data.

Behal is said to be the new rich, and lives a lavish life. Sources say he will be questioned regarding the source of income too.

Behal was once a National Conference supporter, but crossed over to the separatist faction to earn money. He then tried to form links with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s Awami Action Committee, but found no takers. According to the sources, Behal then made himself useful to Geelani, who gave him a role.