Farooq Abdullah grilled over cricket association scam; party cries vendetta
Just as Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today over alleged misappropriation of funds in the J&K Cricket Association, his party decried the move with son Omar calling it "political vendetta." Abdullah is being grilled as he was the president of the association when the financial crime happened. His statement would be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.
Context: Insider had filed complaint against office-bearers, scam was unearthed
Including Abdullah, ten office bearers face allegations of making the association a lending agency and running bogus accounts from 2005. In 2012, the scam was unearthed after former general secretary Mohammad Saleem Khan and former treasurer Ahsan Mirza were booked on a complaint of treasurer Manzoor Wazir. Abdullah's name was also dragged, and he lost the president's seat after over thirty years.
BCCI gave association funds to promote cricket in J&K
To note, ED's case finds its roots in CBI's FIR wherein Khan, Mirza, and other office-bearers were booked. CBI had also filed a charge-sheet against Abdullah, Khan, Mirza, Mir Manzoor Gazanffer Ali, Bashir Ahmad Misgar, and former accountant of JKCA Gulzar Ahmad Beigh. ED said BCCI gave Rs. 94.06 crore to three accounts of JKCA to promote cricket in the state, reports HT.
ED claimed accounts were opened for money laundering
"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," claimed ED. The misappropriation concerns Rs. 43.69 crore.
ED letter came after People's Alliance was formed: NC
In connection to the case, Abdullah was issued summons the last time in August 2019, before the Centre rescinded Article 370. This time, he was grilled within days of the "People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration" being formed. "The letter from the Enforcement Directorate came after the Gupkar Declaration. It is clear political vendetta after the 'People's Alliance' was formed in Kashmir," NC said.
Six parties ditched differences for Article 370's restoration
Last week, six parties from J&K forged an alliance to restore the special status of J&K, as it was before August 2019. The special status allowed J&K residents to live under a separate set of rules pertaining to citizenship and property ownership. To recall, ahead of the abrogation, the BJP government in Delhi, had detained majority of mainstream leaders, including Abdullah, to avoid violence.
We are fighting a constitutional battle: Abdullah
A meeting at Abdullah's house, attended by PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, People's Conference Chairman Sajjad Lone, People's Movement's Javaid Mir, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Awami National Conference Vice-President Muzaffar Shah, laid the roots for the alliance. Revealing the motive of the alliance, Abdullah said, "We shall struggle for the restoration of what was snatched from J&K and Ladakh."
"BJP is muzzling voices of opposition through central agencies"
Linking the questioning of Abdullah with the People's Alliance, an NC spokesperson reminded that the veteran managed to bring adversaries on the same page. "This is the price one faces when opposed to BJP's ideology and divisive politics," the person said. He added that BJP used central agencies to intimidate opposition parties. Abdullah is innocent and will cooperate in the witch-hunt, the spokesperson declared.
Meanwhile, political opponents Lone and Mufti condemned Abdullah's questioning
Taking the same tone, Omar tweeted, "This is nothing less than political vendetta coming days after the formation of the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration." Omar revealed no raids were conducted at Abdullah's residence. Separately, Lone said the latest development reflects a "sorry state of affairs." And Mufti wrote, "Won't in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights."