National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah
National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah
File Photo

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the probe into alleged irregularities in Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.

Abdullah, a former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, was earlier questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in February this year.

""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," his son and NC leader Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.

In a statement, the party said the BJP BJP employing its agencies to target Farooq Abdullah after failing to fight him politically.

“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 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 party said.

“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 further said.

“Dr Farooq Abdullah continues to maintain his innocence and will cooperate with the authorities in what is nothing but a witch hunt,” the statement added.

The ED case is based on a CBI FIR as part of which the latter probe agency booked former office-bearers of JKCA, including general secretary Mohd Saleem Khan and Mirza.

The CBI later 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 ₹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 had said its probe found that during 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," the ED had alleged.

The latest round of questioining comes amid highetened political activities in the Union Territory following the relase of Mehbooba Mufti of People's Democratic Party.

Farooq Abdullah convened an all-party meeting at his home last week to chalk out the future course of action on "Gupkar Declaration" with regard to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked by the Centre last year.

Abdullah announced the formation of an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti of People's Democratic Party, Sajjad Lone and other regional groups and said that the battle is a constitutional and demanded the government of India to return all rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh held before last year.

(With agencies)

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Free Press Journal