New Delhi, December 19
Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth Rs 11.86 crore belonging to former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and some others in its ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption in the Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association, officials said.
Officials said the agency has issued a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the attached properties are located in Jammu and Srinagar.
Two immovable assets are residential, one is a commercial property while three other plots of land have also been attached by the Enforcement Directorate, they said.
While the book value of these attached properties is Rs 11.86 crore, their market value is about Rs 60-70 crore, they added.
Abdullah is being investigated over allegations of misappropriating Rs 113 crore that was sent to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The allegations pertain to a time when he was president of the association.
The 83-year-old leader has been questioned by the ED in this case a number of times, the last being in October at Srinagar. People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, an alliance of several regional political parties including Abdullah’s National Conference, accused the BJP-ruling Centre of targeting Abdullah. Abdullah is the chairperson of the alliance.
Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah’s son and another former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, called ED’s allegations “baseless” and wondered how an ancestral property could be seen as proceeds of “crime”.
In a series of tweets, Omar, who is the vice-president of the National Conference, said his father, Farooq Abdullah, “is in touch with his lawyers and will fight all these baseless charges in the one place that matters – a court of law”.
He said everyone is presumed to be innocent and is entitled to a fair trial “unlike in the court of the media or the court of BJP managed social media”.
Omar expressed wonder that the properties attached are largely ancestral dating from the 1970s with the most recent one built before 2003.
“There can be no justification for the seizures because they fail the very basic test of having been acquired as the proceeds of the ‘crime’ being investigated,” he said.
He said that his father came to know about the attachment of his properties in the ongoing investigation in to the JKCA matter through media.
“Not surprisingly the media was tipped off regarding the seizure before he had received any official notice or documentation,” he said.