Vendetta politics: Omar, Mehbooba on ED summons to Farooq Abdullah

ED case relates to alleged embezzlement of J&K Cricket Association funds

PTI15-10-2020_000188B Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah addresses a press conference along with his son Omar Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and others after meeting of signatories to the Gupkar declaration, at his residence in Srinagar last week | PTI

The National Conference on Monday accused the BJP of political vendetta after the Enforcement Directorate summoned party president and MP Farooq Abdullah for questioning in connection with misappropriation of funds in J&K Cricket Association (J&KCA) when he was heading the association.  

Taking to Twitter, Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah and NC vice president said the  party will be responding to the ED summons shortly. “This is nothing less than political vendetta coming days after the formation of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration,’’ Omar said. “To set the record straight, no raids are being conducted at Dr Sahib’s residence.”

On October 16, Adullah chaired a meeting of six J&K parties in Srinagar at his residence who signed the Gupkar Declaration on August 4 last year to “fight for Article 370’’. After the meeting, Abdullah announced the formation of the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration to fight for the restoration of Article 370. PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, J&K People Conference chief Sajad Lone and CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami were among the leaders who attended the meeting at Adullah’s residence at Gupkar Road in Srinagar.

“We want the government of India to return to the people of the state the rights they had before August 5, 2019,’’ Farooq Abhdullah had said. “At the same time, the political issue of the state has to be resolved as quickly as possible through dialogue with all the stakeholders who are involved in the problem of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Reacting to the questioning of Abdullah by the ED, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet that the ED’s sudden summons to Abdullah displays the Central government’s nervousness over the uniting of mainstream parties in J&K.  

“ED’s sudden summons to Farooq sahib displays the extent of GOIs nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit,’’ Mufti tweeted. “Also reeks of political vendetta and won’t in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights,” Mufti tweeted.

Abdullah was among more than 50 political leaders who were detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) after the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir last year. He was detained in his house initially under preventive detention and later, PSA was slapped on him. His wife Molly Adbdullah came from the UK to be with him during his detention. He was released in March after his daughter Sara Pilot, wife of Congress leader Sachin Pilot, moved the Supreme Court against his detention.

The NC president is today one of the senior-most politicians in India and represents the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency in Parliament.

The case of misappropriation pertains to a payment of Rs 113.67 crore by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the state cricket body from 2002 to 2011 for the promotion of the game. A significant amount of funds were allegedly misappropriated.

Farooq was ousted as the J&KCA president in February 2015 and replaced by Imran Ansari, who was the sports minister in the then PDP-BJP government. The CBI chargesheet named Abdullah, Ehsan Mirza (then J&KCA general secretary), Saleem Khan (treasurer) and Bashir Misger (then J&K Bank Khanyar branch manager) as accused in the scam. 

Later, the ED also joined the probe.  The directorate said its probe found that J&KCA received Rs 94.06 crore from the BCCI in three different bank accounts from 2005–2006 to 2011–2012 (up to December 2011).

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