The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted searches at multiple locations in J&K in connection with the misuse of the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade case. Searches were conducted in nine locations across the border district of Poonch in Jammu province.
The NIA spokesman said that with the assistance of J&K Police, CRPF and ITBP, sleuths conducted searches at nine locations in Poonch district of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at the premises of the suspected LoC traders in relation to case no. RC-17/2016/NIA/DLI.
"The case was registered on 09.12.2016 by NIA under Section 17 of UA(P) Act, 1967", the spokesman said and added that investigation into the case revealed that some of the traders having excess imports were channeling the surplus profit generated to terrorist organizations while others are suspected to have links and connections with proscribed terrorist organizations.
Cross-LoC trade suspended after misusing by arms, drugs smugglers
In the month of April 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had suspended the cross-LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir, citing the funneling of illegal weapons, narcotics, and fake currency as reasons.
The action was taken after reports that the cross-LoC trade routes were misused by Pakistan-based elements for funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency, etc. There were reports that the misuse was on a very large scale.
While issuing the order to suspend trade, the Union Home Ministry had made it clear that the trade has changed its character to mostly third-party trade, and products from other regions, including foreign countries, were finding their way through this route.
"Unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for hawala money, drugs, and weapons, under the garb of this trade," the MHA order had stated.
Earlier raids were conducted in Kashmir in September 2020
Earlier, the NIA had searched nine locations in Srinagar and Pulwama districts in September 2020 as part of its probe into the alleged misuse of cross-LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir.
Searches were conducted at nine locations — seven in Srinagar and two in the Awantipora area of Pulwama — in connection with the LoC trade case.
A probe by the NIA revealed that a significant number of concerns engaged in the trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations.
Cross-LoC trade was started in the year 2008
The cross-LoC trade was started in the year 2008 as a part of confidence-building measures between J&K and Pakistan. The trade was based on a barter system and third-party origin goods were not allowed. "The instant case is related to the large scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India through the import of California Almonds (Badamgiri) and other items via the cross LoC Trade Facilitation Centres (TFCs) located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla, and Chakkan-Da-Bag, District Poonch. These funds were purportedly being used for fomenting terrorism and separatism in Jammu & Kashmir," the NIA spokesman said.