ED questions National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah in J-K Cricket Association scam: Officials
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Srinagar office in connection with its probe into the multi-crore Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) scam, officials familiar with the development said on Monday, prompting his party to condemn the questioning.
Farooq Abdullah was summoned by ED at 11am at its Rajbagh office where he is being questioned by the agency’s officials regarding the money of JKCA.
Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah said the questioning was political vendetta and connected to the alliance forged by six parties from Jammu and Kashmir over the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. “The party will be responding to this ED summons shortly. This is nothing less then political vendetta coming days after the formation of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. To set the record straight no raids are being conducted at Dr Sahib’s residence,” Omar Abdullah posted.
He was referring to the alliance forged by six parties from Jammu and Kashmir for restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state as it existed before August 5 last year. The declaration came after a meeting at Farooq Abdullah’s house and was attended by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone, Peoples Movement leader Javaid Mir, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Awami National Conference vice-president Muzaffar Shah.The meeting was called by Farooq two days after Mehbooba was released.
Farooq Abdullah’s questioning has drawn sharp criticism by the leaders of different political parties. Another former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the summon depicts nervousness about the mainstream politicians. “ED’s sudden summon to Farooq sahab displays the extent of GOIs nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit. Also reeks of political vendetta & wont in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights,” Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
National Conference spokesperson said in a statement that the ED summon to Farooq Abdullah, who represents Srinagar in the Lok Sabha, shows that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has failed to fight him politically and now taking help from agencies. “The ED summon to Dr Farooq Abdullah is clearly the result of unity that Dr sahib has forged between different mainstream political parties in JK. This is the price one faces when opposed to the BJPs ideology and divisive politics,” the spokesperson said.
Ten office-bearers of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), including Abdullah, are accused of turning the sports body into a lending agency and operating several bogus accounts between 2005 and 2012 when the scam was unearthed.
The scam came to light in March 2012 when JKCA treasurer Manzoor Wazir filed a police complaint against former general secretary Mohammad Saleem Khan and former treasurer Ahsan Mirza. Soon, a list with around 50 names linked to the financial scandal was out. Abdullah lost the post of JKCA president later after holding it for more than three decades.
ED attached assets worth Rs 2.6 crore in a money laundering case related to the alleged embezzlement of funds of JKCA, the central agency said in a statement issued in February. A provisional order for attachment of assets was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the former treasurer of JKCA Ahsan Ahmad Mirza and its finance committee member Mir Mansoor Gazanffer, it said.
The ED case is based on a Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI’s) first information report as part of which the latter probe agency booked former office-bearers of JKCA, including general secretary Mohd Saleem Khan and Mirza. The CBI filed a charge sheet against Farooq Abdullah, Khan, Mirza, Mir Manzoor Gazanffer Ali, Bashir Ahmad Misgar and Gulzar Ahmad Beigh (former accountant of JKCA) for “misappropriation of JKCA funds amounting to Rs 43.69 crore” from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the association for promoting the sport in the state between 2002-11.
The ED probe has found that during the financial years 2005–2006 to 2011–2012 (up to December 2011) JKCA received Rs 94.06 crore from BCCI in three different bank accounts. “However, several other bank accounts were opened in the name of JKCA into which these funds were transferred. Such other bank accounts along with the existing bank accounts were later used for laundering funds of JKCA,” ED had alleged.