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ED questions Farooq Abdullah in JKCA scam case, NC & PDP allege political vendetta

Both NC & PDP accused the Modi govt of using ED to target Abdullah in wake of local parties forming the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a coalition demanding restoration of J&K’s special status.

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Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate’s Srinagar wing Monday, triggering a major political controversy in the union territory. 

Abdullah was questioned by ED officials at the Srinagar office in connection with his alleged role in the Rs 113 crore Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) scam.

Abdullah’s summoning and subsequent interrogation, which began at around 11 am Monday, drew severe criticism from mainstream political parties. 

Both his National Conference (NC) and the Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the Modi government of political vendetta, as the summons come just four days after the regional parties formed the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a coalition demanding restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of J&K. 

The NC Monday released a statement, saying that the BJP, “after failing to politically fight Farooq Abdullah”, has resorted to employing its agencies for the task. 

“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,” the statement said. “This is the price one faces when opposed to BJP’s ideology and divisive politics. Recent history is a witness to how BJP has been employing coercive and intimidative 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 timing of the recent summon is very clear. His previous summons were just before Aug 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 statement added. “Dr Farooq Abdullah continues to maintain his innocence and will cooperate with the authorities in what is nothing but a witch hunt.” 

Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister himself, took to Twitter to condemn the summons. “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,” he tweeted. “To set the record straight, no raids are being conducted at Dr Sahib’s residence.”

Former J&K CM and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also took to Twitter to express her views on the matter. “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,” she added. 


The JKCA scam

The scam pertains to the alleged misappropriation of funds worth Rs 113 crore sent by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the JKCA. Abdullah was serving as the president of JKCA when the alleged scam took place in 2012, government officials said. 

The J&K High Court officially handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September 2015.

Subsequently the ED also filed an FIR in the case. In 2018, CBI had filed a chargesheet including Abdullah and three others for allegedly misappropriating over Rs 43 crore from grants given by the BCCI.

The four — Abdullah, the then JKCA general secretary Saleem Khan, the then treasurer Ahsan Ahmad Mirza and the J&K Bank executive Bashir Ahmad Misgar — were charged under the Ranbir Penal Code provisions related to criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

Also read: Finally Indians can see Abdullahs are part of the problem, not solution in Kashmir


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