SRINAGAR, Aug 18 : Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watalii, a prominent Srinagar-based businessman, is believed to be at the centre of a widespread network of subversive Kashmiri elements in contact with Pakistan-based persons of Indian origin and has been in regular touch with serving and retired personnel of Pakistan Army and ISI.
According to sources in the intelligence Bureau, Watali, who heads the Trison Group of companies, allegedly uses his business to channel ISI funds to India for separatist activities. He is believed to have developed entrenched connections with ISI since his days as driver of late Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone. Some of the key Pakistan military personnel he has been in touch with were identified as Brigadier Mir Hafiz Sohail of ISI, Brigadier (Retd) Javeed Aziz Kahn (ex-ISI) and Major General (Retd) Rashid Qureshi.
His links to politicians across the border are also well documented. He is in direct or frequent contact with former PoK chief minister Sardar Ateaq Khan, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary and Federation of Pakistan’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry vice-president Haji Tariq Shafi. In fact, he had invited Ateaq Khan, Chaudhary and Shafi to his son Yasin Ahmed Watali’s wedding in Srinagar in September 2011.
Watali owns a large number of properties not only in Jammu & Kashmir but also at expensive locations in Delhi such as Greater Kailash, Sainik Farms, Chittaranjan Park, DLF Gurgaon and Kalkaji, as well as in London. NIA sources said they found notings during the recent raid, pointing to the large cash component paid to acquire some of these properties.