Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu was booked for sedition in July 2020

At least four people were questioned by NIA on Tuesday, while a total of 16 people have been questioned in the last one week in the SFJ terror-funding case

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday continued to question "witnesses" in a case of alleged terror funding by pro-Khalistan organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

At least four people were questioned by the anti-terror probe agency, while a total of 16 people have been questioned in the last one week. Several among those who have been questioned so far are associated with the ongoing farmers' agitation.

They include at least nine people associated with NGO's, three-four businessmen, and three-four journalists from Punjab and Haryana.

In all, the NIA has summoned 52 people in this case so far. Sources say the NIA is now focusing on funds that have are being sent via NGOs to route money to India from abroad.

According to sources privy to the probe, most of the people summoned in the case have been called after a suspicious transaction report (STR) compiled by the Financial Intelligence Unit was recently shared with NIA.

Sources said the report observed abnormalities in banking transactions in the past three-four months.

"We already have bank account details of the people summoned. We have so far only asked them to explain the purpose for which foreign funds were being sent into their account. The money in these accounts range from thousands to lakhs," a source privy to the NIA probe said.

An officer said most of the people who have been summoned have been "cooperative" and have agreed to share details of what they say are "legitimate transactions".

The officer said the source of funding in accounts of several of these people is the same. He said the transactions have largely been made from the UK, the US and Canada, while in some cases it is from East Asian countries like Malaysia and the Philippines.

He added that the number of transactions during the period coinciding with the farmers' protest is more than that previously.

Winner Singh, who is India head for 'Sikh Channel' and was one of the first to appear before the agency, said, "I have shared details of financial transactions. Since I head the organisation, the money has been used for news coverage. I have a battery of 21 reporters, who do live broadcast from the Singhu Border. There field requirement includes generators, lights, and even a DJ. If the government has any doubt, I am willing to clear it. I will appear as many times as I am called."

Singh, who was questioned for nearly four hours by the NIA, said some amount in accounts linked to him came for the special coverage of the martyrdom day of Chote Sahibzade (younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh) which is usually done in Fatehgarh Sahib.

Meanwhile, several witnesses have not appeared before the agency. The probe is expected to pick pace in the coming weeks.