The Enforcement Directorate has pressed supplementary charges against Farooq Abdullah, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. The charges are on the allegation of misappropriation of funds in the J&K Cricket Association.
On Tuesday, 26th July, the Enforcement Directorate added a supplementary charge sheet against Farooq Abdullah for his alleged actions during his tenure as the president of the Cricket Association i.e. between 2004 and 2009.
What did the charge sheet state?
In the additional charge sheet filed by the ED, it stated that certain amounts of funds were withdrawn from and transferred to different accounts. However, Farooq Abdullah did not act and never brought the matter in front of the working committee. Allegedly, Abdullah had full knowledge of the goings on but still did not act. The charge sheet further stated that Farooq Abdullah, as well as other officeholders, all yielded and indulged in embezzling funds. All during the time frame of 2005 to 2012.
When did the ED begin filing charges?
The Enforcement Directorate began this investigation long before. It filed its first charge sheet in 2021. This was against one Ahsan Ahmad Mirza who was the treasurer of the J&K Cricket Association. The charge sheet named him along with other officials linked to the case.
The alleged scam came to light initially during March of 2012. JKCA treasurer Manzoor Wazir first filed a complaint with the police. The complaint was against the JKCA former general secretary Mohammad Saleem Khan as well as former treasurer Ahsan Mirza. The complaint was filed at a local Srinagar police station. Subsequently, approximately 50 more people were linked to the scandal.
The ED bases its entire case on a first information report. The Central Bureau of Investigation filed this FIR in 2015. The report alleged that as a criminal conspiracy, Farooq Abdullah along with other accused officers had turned a blind eye towards the embezzlement of funds. The amount involved mentioned by the CBI was at Rs. 43.69 crores.
Since then the amount has been chalked up to Rs. 51.90 crore.
In the ED’s first charsheet, it stated that Farooq Abdullah “misused” the authority of his position as the president of the association. It also stated that he made appointments in the sports body with the sole purpose of funds being allocated could be laundered. The Board of Control for Cricket in India provided and allocated these funds.
The agency also linked Abdullah’s residential and commercial properties to the case in December 2020. This nudged the president to reach out to the high court.
What’s happening with the charges now?
The Enforcement Directorate is a law enforcement agency. It investigates economic and financial crimes that are ongoing in the country. Therefore, in May, it interrogated Abdullah with regards to the alleged misappropriation of funds. They have further found that the ownership of a property worth Rs. 11.86 crore attached to him.
Abdullah was also questioned in 2019 and 2020 with regards to the case. Since the initial charges, both Mohammed Saleem Khan as well as Ahsan Ahmad Mirza have been booked.
Consequently, the National Conference stated that Abdullah will cooperate with the Enforcement Directorate. They state that Abdullah will always abide by the truth. No matter how many “fabricated, truth manipulated and dissent suppressed” stories come this way, Abdullah will cooperate with all the requirements of the agencies to absolve himself.
The principal district and sessions judge of Srinagar has sent for Farooq Abdullah to appear before the court on the 27th of August.
However, Abdullah has stated that the attachment of his properties is in no way related to the ongoing investigation. He states that the properties were either ancestral or were acquired before the alleged scam began.
Abdullah also pointed out the alleged political reasoning behind the probe into him. He stated that action of this sort will take place until the elections are held in J&K. He told reporters that he would continue to be harassed until the elections.