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news details
ED grills Farooq Abdullah for six hours in JKCA graft case
10/20/2020 12:34:32 AM

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Oct 19: The Enforcement Directorate on Monday questioned National Conference president Farooq Abdullah for over six hours in connection with a multi-crore scam in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, prompting accusations of "political vendetta" by the newly-formed People’s Alliance comprising several mainstream parties.
The 82-year-old former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister received the ED summons a day after the formation of the People''s Alliance led by him was announced on October 15. He was questioned at the agency’s regional office here in the case connected to the embezzlement of more than Rs 40 crore of JKCA funds during his tenure as president of the association.
The CBI has already filed a chargesheet against him and the ED is probing the money laundering angle in the case.
Emerging from the ED office after the questioning, Abdullah told reporters that courts would decide on the merits of the case. "I am not worried. Why are you worried? The only regret I have is that I could not have my lunch as I had not brought it along."
The ED, he said, was doing their job and he was doing his. "Our struggle (for Article 370) will go on whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or Farooq Abdullah is dead. Our resolve has not changed and our resolve will not change even If I were to be hanged," Abdullah said.
ED officials said Abdullah''s statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Lok Sabha MP and former JKCA president, who was also questioned in the case in Chandigarh in July last year, is understood to have been questioned about his role and decisions taken when the alleged fraud took place in the association.
The questioning took place four days after Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream political parties, including the NC and the PDP, met at Abdullah''s residence and formed the People''s Alliance for ''Gupkar Declaration''.
The Declaration resolves to campaign constitutionally for the restoration of Article 370, under which the erstwhile state enjoyed special status. On August 5 last year, the Centre revoked the state’s special status and bifurcated the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Alliance strongly condemned Abdullah’s questioning and termed it "part of the vindictive politics practised by the central government to kill dissent and disagreement across the country and in present case to silence the genuine demand of reversal of unilateral and unconstitutional" abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A.
The ED case is based on an FIR filed by the CBI, which booked former JKCA office-bearers, including general secretary Mohammed Saleem Khan and former treasurer Ahsan Ahmad Mirza.
The CBI later filed a chargesheet in 2018 against Abdullah, Khan, Mirza as well as Mir Manzoor Gazanffer Ali (former JKCA treasurer) and former accountants Bashir Ahmad Misgar and Gulzar Ahmad Beigh for the "misappropriation of JKCA funds amounting to Rs 43.69 crore" from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to promote the sport in the state between 2002-11.
The ED said its probe found that JKCA received Rs 94.06 crore from BCCI in three different bank accounts during financial years 2005-2006 to 2011-2012 (up to December 2011).
The ED alleged that several other bank accounts were opened in the name of the JKCA into which the funds were transferred. The bank accounts along with the existing bank accounts were later used for laundering JKCA funds.
Abdullah''s son and NC leader Omar Abdullah said the ED action was "...nothing less than political vendetta" and came days after the formation of the People''s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
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