On 84th Birthday, JK’s 5-Time Chief Minister Grilled By ED For 5 Hours

SRINAGAR: Dr Farooq Abdullah spent almost five hours in a questioning session at the Enforcement Directorate’s Srinagar office, media reports said. The second session of questioning in a span of few days coincided with his 84th birthday.

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

Reports appearing in media said the questioning pertained to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association racket that was earlier investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI). He had reached the ED office at 11 am and was retained for five hours.

This was the second questioning session. The first one, on Monday, continued for seven hours.

Omar Abdullah broke the news on Twitter in the morning saying: “This on a day when my father turns 84!”

In the afternoon, the NC met at the party headquarters and termed the summoning as part of Delhi’s “coercive plot”. NC spokesman said the objective was “browbeating”. The NC statement asked: “What is it that ED forgot to ask during the six hours it interrogated an 83 yr old Member of Parliament?”

ED officials reportedly revealed to some reporters that he was required for some clarifications. The officials, according to reports, said Abdullah was asked: “about the procedures followed and decisions taken when he was the president of the cricket body”.

Unlike October 19, Dr Farooq did not talk to reporters who were waiting outside the ED premises in Srinagar’s posh Rajbagh.

ED is investigating the case that it registered on basis of CBI charge-sheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in 2018. Dr Abdullah was questioned by ED in Chandigarh in July 2019. The ED is planning to submit a charge sheet in the case.

In JKCA scam, CBI registered a case – on directions of High Court in a PIL in 2015 – against its office-bearers, including Mohammed Saleem Khan and former treasurer Ahsan Ahmad Mirza. Later in 2018, the federal investigator filed a charge sheet against Dr Farooq Abdullah, Khan, Ahsan Mirza besides Mir Manzoor Gazanffer Ali and former accountants Bashir Ahmad Misgar and Gulzar Ahmad Beigh for the “misappropriation of JKCA funds amounting to Rs 43.69 crore”.

ED sources have told newspapers in Delhi that Dr Abdullah was initially summoned as “witness”. However, after they found his involvement, he was booked in the case. Dr Farooq Abdullah has asserted his innocence before the court and is insisted that he is being implicated to tarnish his image.

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