File photo: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
File photo: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)

Farooq Abdullah questioned by ED in multi-crore J-K cricket scam, party alleges ‘political vendetta’

Farooq Abdullah’s questioning has drawn sharp criticism by the leaders of different political parties, especially the National Conference and the PDP.
By Mir Ehsan | Edited by Sparshita Saxena | Hindustan Times, Srinagar
UPDATED ON OCT 19, 2020 06:08 PM IST

National Conference (NC) president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was summoned and questioned by the officials of the Enforcement Directorate on Monday in multi-crore J&K cricket scam.

Dr Farooq was summoned by the ED at 11 am at its Rajbagh office where he was questioned regarding the money of Jammu and Kashmir cricket board. The case has been going on for the last two years.

Farooq Abdullah’s questioning has drawn sharp criticism by the leaders of different political parties, especially the National Conference and the PDP.

“The party will be responding to this ED summons shortly. This is nothing less than 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,” tweeted NC vice president and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Another former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the summon to Abdullah depicts political vendetta.

“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.

Also read: Pak readies plan to sabotage J&K telecom blackout with new mobile towers

Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone also described the summon as vendetta which will have an opposite reaction.

“What a sorry state of affairs. Dr Farooq sahib summoned by ED. Reeks of vendetta. Contrary to what they want to coercively achieve this will certainly have the opposite impact,” Lone tweeted.

National Conference spokesman in a statement said that the ED’s summon to the NC president shows that BJP has failed to fight him politically and is now taking help from agencies.

In a statement, a party spokesperson said the ED summon to Dr Farooq Abdullah is clearly the result of the unity that Dr Sahib has been able to forge among mainstream political parties in J&K.

“This is the price one faces when opposed to BJP’s ideology and divisive politics. Recent history is a witness to how the BJP has been employing coercive and intimidating measures through various departments to target opposition leaders across the country. The recent ED summon to Dr Farooq Abdullah is a case in point,” the spokesperson added.

The statement said the timing of the recent summon is very clear. “His previous summons were just before August 5 last year and today’s summon comes within days of forming the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration of which Dr Farooq Abdullah has taken a lead,” the spokesman said, adding that Dr Farooq Abdullah continues to maintain his innocence and will cooperate with the authorities in what is nothing but a witchhunt.

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Altaf Thakur said if Abdullah is clear on his part, he should face the probe. “Why has the ED summon created ripples in the NC? If Dr Farooq is clear, let him face the ED probe. I wonder why such a huge hullaballoo is in NC camp,” Thakur said.

He said that linking ED’s summon with the BJP is nothing but a myopic vision of NC leaders. “BJP is a party of principles and doesn’t indulge in any act that goes against the party’s constitution and principles,” Thakur said.

He said that the ED is perhaps probing the cricket scam and the NC should allow the agency to carry out the investigations in a transparent manner.

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 of around 50 names linked to the financial scandal was out. Abdullah lost the post of the JKCA president later after holding it for more than three decades.

The ED attached assets worth Rs 2.6 crore in a money laundering case related to the alleged embezzlement of JKCA funds, 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 JKCA treasurer Ahsan Ahmad Mirza and its finance committee member Mir Mansoor Gazanffer.

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