NIA closes in on Hafiz Saeed as it files charge sheet against him. Hizbul chief Sayed Salahuddin has also been named. NIA produced Kashmiri separatist leaders in NIA court today

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has charge sheeted terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed in a terror funding case. The NIA has also accused Syed Salahuddin in its charge sheet along with 8 others who are accused of funding terror activities in India.

The eight accused who were charge sheeted by NIA of terror funding were produced in the special NIA court in Patiala House Court today. The accused alleged that there was an ongoing 'media trial' against them which puts them on the backfoot in the trial

The NIA team led by SP Arvind Negi carrying 12794 page charge sheet refuted these claims when asked by additional sessions judge Tarun Sherawat. The NIA told the court that the agency has not issued any press note about the trial.

Hizbul chief Sayed Salahuddin

A release from NIA on the Charge sheet came only after NIA had submitted the documentation.

The media was allowed to be present during the first half of court proceedings, but the second half was carried out 'in-camera' after the accused made their 'media trial' apprehensions clear.

The charge sheet includes two of the three Kashmiri separatist leaders against whom a sting operation was carried out by India Today.

Prominent separatist leader who are charge-sheeted include Nayeem Khan who is senior Hurriyat leader of Geelani faction and Farooq Ahmed Dar. The others include Mirwaiz Umar Farooq aide Aftab Hilali Shah in addition to Altaf ahmed who is Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son-in-law.

The eight have been charged of funding terror groups in Kashmir and indulging in anti-national and subversive activities.

The anti terror probe agency has also charge-sheet a freelance photo-journalist Kamran Yusuf and Kulgam resident Javed Ahmed Bhat, for indulging in stone pelting and mobilising support against security personnel through social media. These two were not present in the court today

Businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, who is accused of acting as a conduit for channelling funds for separatists and terror activities in the Kashmir Valley, was arrested on August 17 last year.

He was allegedly collecting funds from Pakistan and banned terrorist organisations and transferring them to Hurriyat leaders. Watali is known to be friends with Pakistani leaders as well as separatists. The NIA told India Today that he is close to Kashmiri politicians as well.

Main accused and mastermind Lashkar Chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizb Chief Syed Salahuddin continue to be at large.