Srinagar, Oct 21: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for the second time in three days on Wednesday in connection with a multi-crore scam in the JK Cricket Association, with his National Conference terming the summons “yet another attempt to browbeat” the opposition.
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Abdullah, who turns 84 on Wednesday, appeared before the ED’s regional office in Rajbagh in the Civil Lines area of the city in the morning. He was earlier questioned in the case for over six hours on Monday.
His son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed his displeasure and tweeted the party statement on his father’s questioning with the comment: “This on a day when my father turns 84!”
ED officials said on condition of anonymity that Farooq Abdullah has been called again for some clarifications. He was questioned for the first time in July last year in Chandigarh after the agency had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in 2018.
After the questioning on Monday, Abdullah had said he was not worried and would cooperate in the probe.
Immediately after Farooq Abdullah went in for his second round of questioning in three days, party spokesman Imran Nabi Dar issued a statement expressing anger and said these tactics are only aimed at “browbeating” opposition leaders who raise their voice against the BJP’s “divisive politics”.
The party criticised the government for what it called an “agenda of cornering any voices of dissent”.
“How many times will BJP use CBI, ED, anti-corruption bureau and its other agencies to browbeat opposition? The plot has become predictable. Anyone who speaks against the government or musters courage against its divisive politics will be hounded and summoned,” it said.
Terming these ED summons “calculated coercive measures”, Dar said that it is aimed at curtailing Farooq Abdullah’s efforts to weave unity among mainstream political parties in JK.
Calling the repeated ED summons as pressure tactics, he said, “What is it that ED forgot to ask during the six hours it interrogated an 83-yr-old Member of Parliament?
The government and its agencies, the spokesperson said, has no consideration for a law-abiding citizen who is severely immuno compromised and diabetic.
“Abdullah being treated like this is a proof that the BJP is not even interested in a face-saving act and is completely comfortable with being seen as a bully by the nation,” he said.
He said that the “only way to get a clean chit these days is to surrender ones ideology and join the BJP. We’ve seen this story play out from Assam to Karnataka, from West Bengal to Andhra Pradesh but Dr Abdullah is not going to surrender to the BJP, come what may.”
The last round of questioning took place four days after Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream political parties, including the NC and the PDP, met at Abdullah’s residence and formed the People’s Alliance for ‘Gupkar Declaration’.
The agency’s case is based on an FIR filed by the CBI, which booked former JKCA office-bearers, including general secretary Mohammed Saleem Khan and former treasurer Ahsan Ahmad Mirza.
The CBI had also filed a charge sheet in 2018 against Abdullah, Khan, Mirza as well as former JKCA treasurer 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” from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to promote the sport in the erstwhile state between 2002 and 2011.