ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency has started investigation into allegations of funding by Indian intelligence agency RAW to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and summoned Sarfaraz Merchant, one of the suspects in a money-laundering case against the MQM in London, to record his statement and provide evidence, if any.
Informed sources said the interior minister had asked the FIA to investigate the allegations levelled by Sarfaraz Merchant against the MQM and its leadership. An inquiry team of the FIA will investigate the charges against the party of money laundering, illegal purchase of weapons and RAW funding.
The interior ministry has also sent a communication to all security and intelligence agencies asking them to share with the inquiry team evidence or information relating to the allegations.
A decision about the level at which the matter should be taken up with the British authorities will be taken after the submission of a report by the inquiry team.
Agency summons Sarfaraz Merchant to record statement, provide evidence
In a TV programme, Sarfaraz Merchant claimed that several lists of explosive weapons had been found in the house of Altaf Hussain in London during a raid by Scotland Yard in 2014.
He also spoke of the party’s links with India in the first-ever TV interview since the launch of the money-laundering investigation in 2012. He claimed that police had shown him a list of highly explosive weapons found in the MQM chief’s house and asked him if he had paid for the weapons or knew whose signatures were there on the list. The list shows that over £65,000 has been paid for the weapons as well as its conversion into Indian rupee.
Mr Merchant said the investigators had told him that they were also in possession of several other such lists. According to him, the Scotland Yard asked him if he was aware that the MQM had received money from Indian sources and whether he had any role in facilitating this money.
He said police had given him a document which stated that they had “credible evidence” that the MQM had received funding from India and Mohammad Anwar and Tariq Mir accepted before the police that they had received money from Indian intelligence sources — pointing to the involvement of RAW.
“I shared the official document about Indian funding to the MQM with a senior political figure who was previously associated with the MQM and is at present holding a key position in the Sindh government,” he said.
Mr Merchant said he was shocked to find that an Indian company in Dubai was transferring money into MQM’s accounts. He admitted that he had lent about 250,000 British pounds to the MQM during general elections in 2013. “I thought I was helping a big party and I didn’t think I was committing a crime. I am now facing the consequences. I paid all amounts through cheque to Mr Anwar and to the MQM,” he said.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2016