National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday (October 19) for his alleged role in irregularities in the working of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. The National Conference linked the questioning to Abdullah’s recent move to unite major parties from the region for restoring the special status for the erstwhile J&K state.
The Enforcement Directorate is looking into money laundering allegations connected to the J&K cricket body. The CBI had in 2018 filed a chargesheet against Abdullah, a National Conference MP, and three others, for alleged misappropriation of INR 43.69 crore between 2002 and 2011.
“It is a clear political vendetta after the ‘People’s Alliance’ was formed in Kashmir,” said an NC spokesperson on Monday.
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.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 19, 2020
“We knew it was coming,” said the party, adding the ruling BJP at the Centre was using its agencies to fight the new political formation because it “couldn’t fight it politically”.
“This is the price one pays when opposed to the BJP ideology and divisive politics.
Recent history is witness to how the BJP has been employing coercive measures through various departments to target opposition leaders across the country. The recent ED summons to Farooq Abdullah is a case in point,” said the National Conference.
The party said the timing was “very clear”. It said Abdullah maintains his innocence and would cooperate in what is “nothing but a witch-hunt”.
His rival Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) tweeted: “ED’s sudden summon to Farooq sahab displays the extent of GOI’s nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit… also reeks of political vendetta & wont in the least to blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights.”
The last time Abdullah, 82, was summoned by the agency was in July 2019, days before the Centre’s August 5 move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divided it into two UTs.
Meanwhile, Farooq, who is also an MP from the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, has said economic progress and development in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be achieved unless the Centre reverses all the decisions taken on August 5 last year.
“J-K’s path to development and economic progress is not possible unless New Delhi doesn’t do justice with the people of J-K and reverses all the decisions taken on the Aug 5, 2019,” he added.