Updated: May 27, 2022 1:44:00 pm
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah to appear before it in Delhi on May 31 in connection with its money laundering probe into the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) case. “Abdullah had missed an earlier summon. So he has been called again for questioning,” an ED official said.
The National Conference on Friday confirmed the summons in a tweet. “ED summons to JKNC President Dr Farooq Abdullah nothing new, this is common for all opposition parties in India. He has continued to maintain his innocence in the matter and has cooperated with the investigative agencies and will do so in this case as well,” it said.
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In March this year, the agency had provisionally attached assets to the tune of Rs 7.25 crore belonging to an alleged accused in the case. The agency has earlier attached assets of Farooq Abdullah as well in the case.
The case is related to alleged irregularities in grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA). It was alleged that between 2002 and 2011, funds to the tune of over Rs 43 crore (ED now claims it is over Rs 50 crore) were siphoned off from the JKCA coffers. These funds were part of the Rs 112 crore grant given by the BCCI to JKCA.
In 2020, the ED had attached properties worth Rs 14.32 crore in the case. These belonged to Ahsan Ahmad Mirza, Mir Manzoor Ghazanfar and Abdullah. As part of that, Abdullah’s Gupkar road bungalow too had been attached, apart from his properties in Jammu. The agency had also filed a prosecution complaint against Mirza.
Abdullah has already been questioned multiple times in the case with the last questioning being done just ahead of the DDC polls in 2020.
“Between 2006 and January 2012, when Dr Farooq Abdullah was the President of JKCA, he misused his position and clout by illegal appointments of office-bearer at JKCA to whom he gave financial powers for the purpose of laundering of JKCA funds. Investigation also reveals that Dr Farooq Abdullah was instrumental as well as beneficiary of the laundered funds of JKCA,” the ED had said in a statement earlier.
The agency had claimed that despite there being an existing bank account of JKCA, six new bank accounts were opened for alleged parking of JKCA funds and siphoning of the same. One dormant bank account in the name of the Kashmir Wing of JKCA was also made operational for the same purpose, the agency had said.
Farooq’s son and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had then refuted the allegations saying the properties were ancestral. “The properties attached are largely ancestral dating from the 1970s with the most recent one built before 2003. There can be no justification for the seizures because they fail the very basic test of having been acquired as the proceeds of the “crime” being investigated,” Omar had said in a tweet.
The ED case is based on a CBI FIR of 2015. In July 2018, the CBI filed a chargesheet in the case against Farooq Abdullah and three others – the then JKCA general secretary Md Saleem Khan and the then treasurer Ahsan Ahmad Mirza, as also J&K Bank executive Bashir Ahmad Misgar – under Ranbir Penal Code provisions related to criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. It alleged that “Abdullah had connived with the treasurer of JKCA and others for undue siphoning off and misappropriation of funds”.
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