Dr Farooq Misses Lunch In ED’s 5-Hour Long Questioning

SRINAGAR: Dr Farooq Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir’s five-time Chief Minister was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for five long hours. During the questioning he misses his lunch, he told reporters after coming out of the ED office in Rajbagh.

Dr Farooq Abdullah coming out from Enforcement Directorate office Srinagar after day-long questioning on Monday, October 19, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“I am quite clear, let ED do their job, I will do mine,” Dr Abdullah told reporters later. “Resolve for the restoration of Article 370 will continue whether I am alive or dead.”

The NC president didn’t get the time to have lunch. Talking to reporters after spending almost a day at ED’s Srinagar office, Dr Farooq said: “ “My fate will be decided by the court when they would put the case into the court. I couldn’t have lunch today. There was no time.”

Dr Farooq Abdullah talking to media after coming out from Enforcement Directorate office Srinagar after day-long questioning on Monday, October 19, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Asked whether he was summoned because of the formation of Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar declaration, Dr Farooq said that “don’t bring Gupkar declaration into this.”

When asked if the questioning was about the Cricket Association scam, Dr Abdullah said: “Apko kya chati padi hai. Ask them”. A visibly irritated Dr Abdullah retorted: “I am not worried, why are you worried? The only regret I have is that I could not have my lunch.”

However, Dr Farooq said it will not that weaken his resolve. “This is the resolve of people of Jammu and Kashmir. This will continue whether Farooq Abdullah is dead or alive.”

To a query that his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief had termed the ED summons to him as political vendetta, Dr Farooq said: “I have nothing to say on that.”

Dr Abdullah, as already reported, was summoned today by ED at 11 am today. He was let go at 5 pm after facing seven hours of questioning. The NC president, however, said ED sleuths were “nice sober and friendly to him.”

Reports appearing in the media quoted anonymous ED officials saying that Dr Abdukah was quizzed on Monday in the probe connected to a money-laundering scam of over Rs 40 crore of JKCA funds. The officials said the NC chief’s statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Dr Abdullah had received the ED summons on October 16, a day after the People’s Alliance on Gupkar Declaration was announced.

News gatherer ANI quoted Dr Abdullah saying: “This questioning has been going on for many years, it is nothing new. I am not going to say anything. The Court will decide what is to be done. I am not worried.”

Earlier, Dr Abdullah was questioned by the ED on July 31, 2019, in Chandigarh. It was after the questioning that Dr Abdullah had flown to Delhi and met the Priem Minister along with his son Omar and Husnain Masoodi. It was in the same month that CBI submitted a charge sheet in the case in which Dr Abdullah and three others were accused of misappropriating over Rs 43 crore from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) for promoting the sport in the state between 2002-11

NC Condemns

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference vehemently condemned ED summons to Party President and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah, saying the measure exudes witch-hunt and vengeance, according to a joint statement issued by the party.

The leaders said the incumbent ruling dispensation in Delhi was employing government machinery and malevolent tactics to subdue Dr Sahabs effort in forging unity among different mainstream political parties.

“This government is doing everything it can to silence the combined voice of the people of J&K, which Dr Sahib has been able to forge,” the statement said. “The tactics are being employed across the board in the country to stifle the voices of dissent by using all spiteful measures, the party will not duck due to such tactics. We condemn the treatment that is being meted out to Dr Sahab, an octogenarian, senior-most politician of J&K, and sitting Member of Parliament from Srinagar. Such tactics will only make us more resolute towards achieving our goal peacefully and constitutionally. The measure also reveals the jittery the present ruling dispensation is going through in wake of the growing consensus among all mainstream political parties on People’s Alliance for Gupkar declaration headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah.”

Dr Farooq Abdullah addressing media after coming out from Enforcement Directorate office Srinagar after day-long questioning on Monday, October 19, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The statement was issued by Party General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar, Provincial Presidents Nasir Aslam Wani, Devender Singh Rana, senior leaders Mohammad Shafi Uri, Abdul Rahim Rather, Chaudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Mian Altaf Ahmed, Shammi Oberoi, Party MPs Muhammad Akbar Lone, Hasnain Masoodi; Mubarak Gul, SS Salathia, Ajay Sadhotra, Sakina Itoo, Shameema Firdous, Bimla Luthra, Nazir Ahmed Khan Gurezi, G A Shah, Sajjad Ah Kitchloo, Khalid Najeeb Suharwardey, Qamar Ali Akhoon, Ali Mohammad Dar, Dr Bashir Veeri, Javed Rana, Rattan Lal Gupta, RS Wazir, Brij Mohan Sharma, Mushtaq Ahmad Bukhari, S Namgyal and Haneefa Jan.

They termed it “undue witch hunt and intimidation” of party president, insisting the “motive behind the summon “is to deter him from representing the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

People’s Alliance Reaction

People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has in a statement strongly condemned the summoning of Dr Farooq Abdullah, President J&K National Conference, by Enforcement Directorate.

In a statement People’s Alliance terming it as a part of vindictive politics practiced by the Central Government to kill dissent and disagreement across the Country and in present case to silence the genuine demand for reversal of unilateral and unconstitutional decisions of August 5,2019 and restoration of August 4, 2019, the Alliance has reminded the Central Government that such tactics are not to dampen the will of People of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to have the Constitutional status restored.

“It is stated that the Central Government unnerved by the unity amongst the people across all the regions and communities to pursue the goals of Gupkar Declaration and support extended to it by political parties and civil society groups at the national level is resorting to a game of witch-hunt and suppression,” said the statement.

“It has urged the Government of India (GOI) to realise the dangers in this process of witch-hunting and intimidation and desist from such vindictive designs. Dialogue with all stakeholders and restoration of special status remains the only option to address the deepening uncertainty in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” the statement said.

BJP Welcomes

Meanwhile, BJP Kashmir Unit welcomed the summoning of Dr Farooq saying it was in connection multi-crore scam of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) in which, it alleged, Dr Abdullah’s “played with the future of youth.”

“He said under Abdullah’s nose, the scam was done and he acted as a mute spectator,”  the BJP statement quoting Manzoor Bhat said. “The money meant for developmental work was looted and used for building their houses and increasing properties. Consecutive governments in J&K tried to hush-up the issue.” The statement urged the Central government “to nap other leaders also who were indulged in corruption”. The case, it said, was pending since 2012.

“Party has nothing to do with the ED summons to Abdullah and it is the domain of investigating agencies and not of BJP leaders. He is now frustrated as no one is interested in their family politics,” he said adding that Gupkar declaration is already a dead document.

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