The National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted searches at 12 locations in Srinagar and north Kashmir in connection with terror funding, extending the crackdown on separatist leaders who function under the directions of external elements inimical to the country.
NIA officials said the searches are being carried out at 12 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla and Handwara districts.
According to India Today TV, the agency carried out raids on properties of relatives of Zahoor Watali, a prominent businessman in the Valley and a known Hurriyat supporter.
The NIA is also raiding the houses and office of Shafi Rishi, a prominent lawyer in Kashmir and Peerzada Nabi, a prominent businessman.
Official sources said that evidences have been found against Watali, Rishi and Nabi about their involvement in the terror funding.
Watali's residence in Gurugram, Delhi and Srinagar were raided on 4 June as part of the ongoing investigation.
The NIA had also questioned the sons of pro-Pakistan separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on 8 August over his alleged links with Hafiz Saeed, leader of the Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Saeed is reportedly said to be a prominent source of funding for the pro-Pakistan separatist factions in the Valley and the money is subsequently being channeled to fund protesters and militants in the Valley, PTI quoted sources as saying.
The NIA had also questioned the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Faheem Ali, who handles separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq's security, in connection with the case.
Ali was the first police officer from the state to be interrogated by the NIA.
The agency has so far arrested seven people - Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah, Ayaz Akbar Khanday, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah (all from Geelani's faction of Hurriyat), Shahid-ul-Islam (of the faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq), Nayeem Khan of the Jammu Kashmir National Front and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karatay of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (R).
The agency now plans to summon Geelani, Malik, Shabir Shah, and Farooq. Geelani's two sons - Nayeem and Naseem - have already been questioned by the NIA in the case.
Before the arrests, the anti-terrorism investigating agency conducted the first round of searches across Kashmir, Delhi, and Haryana looking for evidence of separatist leaders and businessmen receiving funds from Hafiz Saeed, who heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa group, and other Pakistan-based militant outfits.
The agency has alleged money received from Pakistan was being used to fund violence in the Kashmir, including an operation to increase stone pelting on security forces and arson that largely targeted schools and government buildings.
Violence in the Kashmir valley peaked after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July last year.
The current crackdown is a part of NIA investigation against allegations that separatists leaders were receiving funds from Pakistan and were using the money to fuel unrest in the Valley.