- Farooq Abdullah was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate today
- "We knew it was coming," said the party
- Mr Abdullah, 82, was earlier summoned by the agency last year
Senior politician Farooq Abdullah was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate today in connection with alleged irregularities in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. His party National Conference linked the questioning to the recent move by Farooq Abdullah to bring together all J&K parties in a campaign for restoring special status.
The Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial crimes, is looking into money-laundering allegations connected to the J&K cricket body. The CBI had in 2018 filed a chargesheet against Mr Abdullah, a National Conference MP, and three others, for alleged misappropriation of Rs 43.69 crore between 2002-11.
"The letter from the Enforcement Directorate came after the Gupkar declaration. It is clear political vendetta after the 'People's Alliance' was formed in Kashmir," said a National Conference spokesperson on Monday.
"We knew it was coming," said the party, adding that the ruling BJP at the centre was using its agencies to fight the new political formation because it "couldn't fight it politically".
"This is the price one faces when opposed to the BJP's ideology and divisive politics. Recent history is witness to how the BJP has been employing coercive and intimidative measures through various departments to target opposition leaders across the country. The recent ED summons to Farooq Abdullah is a case in point," said the National Conference.
The party said the timing was "very clear". Mr Abdullah, it added, maintained his innocence and would cooperate in what is "nothing but a witch-hunt".
His rival Mehbooba Mufti of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) tweeted: "ED's sudden summon to Farooq sahab displays the extent of GOIs nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit. Also reeks of political vendetta & wont in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights."
The last time Mr Abdullah, 82, was summoned by the agency was in July 2019, days before the centre's August 5 move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divided it into two union territories.
Mr Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti - all former Chief Ministers - were among scores of politicians detained at the time.
While the Abdullahs, detained under the stringent Public Safety Act, were released earlier this year, Mehbooba Mufti was freed last Tuesday.
The Abdullahs, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajjad Lone and others came together on Thursday and formed the "People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration" to fight for the restoration of Article 370 and "resolution of Kashmir". This was based on the "Gupkar Declaration" signed on August 4, 2019, after an all-party meeting at the Gupkar Road home of Mr Abdullah in Srinagar. Regional parties and the Congress resolved to protect Jammu and Kashmir's special constitutional status and fight against any move to dilute it. A day later, the centre enforced its massive Article 370 decision.