KC NEWS DESK
Srinagar: State Investigation Agency(SIA), Kashmir has arrested Sarjan Ahmad Wagay alias Barkati of South Kashmir for his alleged involvement in orchestrating an extensive fund-raising campaign through crowd funding.
A statement by the agency said that Barkati was arrested in Case FIR No 02/2023 of police station, SIA. “The case pertains to Barkati’s involvement in orchestrating an extensive fund-raising campaign through crowd funding, resulting in the generation of funds amounting to crores. These funds were subsequently misused, involving money laundering and acquisition of undisclosed assets for propagation of radicalism within the Kashmir valley, ” it said.
The statement said that Barkati, also known as “Azadi Chacha,” gained prominence in 2016 following the neutralization of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by security forces. “Sarjan Barkati was a central figure in orchestrating large-scale protests, rallies, and clashes with security forces in 2016, for which more than 30 FIRs were registered against him in various police stations of the valley, ” it said.
SIA Kashmir claimed that Barkati managed to raise approximately Rs 1.74 crores through crowd funding campaigns. “These funds were ostensibly raised for personal gains and a significant portion of the collected funds was allegedly misused for undisclosed purposes, including possible financing of secessionist and terrorist activities, ” it claimed.
During investigation SIA Kashmir said it found that Barkati had not only exploited public sentiment and trust for personal financial gain but also potentially laundered funds from unidentified sources, suspected to have links with terrorist organizations.
“Furthermore, a substantial portion of the acquired funds had been deposited in various Fixed Deposit Receipts (FDRs) under the names of Barkati’s family members, raising questions about the legitimacy of the sources and utilization of the funds, ” it said.
The SIA said that Sarjan Barkati’s actions amounted to a betrayal of the public’s trust, as he allegedly manipulated emotional appeals and crowd funding platforms to further personal and potentially illicit agendas. The agency noted that Barkati’s activities not only tarnished the sanctity of crowd funding but also raised serious concerns about the misuse of such resources for promoting separatist-terrorist activities, it claimed.