Farooq Abdullah, summoned by E.D. twice in two days, accuses the authorities of a ‘witch-hunt’ of Kashmir’s mainstream leaders

Published : October 22, 2020 18:34 IST

Farooq Abdullah, president of the National Conference, leaving the Enforcement Directorate office in Srinagar on October 19. Photo: PTI

Farooq Abdullah, president of the National Conference (N.C.) and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (E.D.) on October 21 and questioned for five hours in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association scam.

This was his second appearance before the investigation agency in two days in connection with the multi-crore scam which surfaced in 2012. The E.D. summons is being seen as an arm-twisting tactic by the State administration and follows days after he sealed the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration on October 15.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had given Rs.112 crore for the promotion of cricket in Jammu and Kashmir. It has been alleged that there was a misappropriation of Rs 46.3 crore. Farooq Abdullah, who headed the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association then, was named in the chargesheet filed by the CBI which investigated the case.

Farooq Abdullah, who is an incumbent member of the Lok Sabha from Srinagar, was put under house arrest and slapped with the Public Safety Act following the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019. He was released in February this year. Before chairing the allparty meeting on October 15, he had issued a statement on August 22 along with other mainstream leaders reiterating their commitment to fight for restoration of Articles 370 and 35A.

The signatories of the People’s Alliance included Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sajjad Lone of the People’s Conference (P.C.), Muzaffar Shah of the Awami National Conference (ANC), Yousuf Tarigami of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Javaid Mir of the People’s Movement besides Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah of the N.C. Farooq Abdullah had told the media on the sidelines of the meeting: “We have named this alliance People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. Our battle is a constitutional battle, we want the government of India to return to the people of the State the rights they held before 5th August 2019.”

The N.C. passed a resolution strongly condemning the “vindictive/coercive action” against Farooq Abdullah on October 21. Incidentally, he turned 83 that day.

The party’s resolution read: “We resolve that we strongly condemn the vindictive/coercive action against party president Dr Farooq Abdullah. We stand fully with our leader and his unity mission in J&K. Our resolve to fight for the rights of people of J&K is undeterred by such action.”

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