Assets worth Rs 11.86 crore of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah have been attached by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) money laundering case, the agency said on Saturday. Mr Abdullah's son, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, refuted the agency's charges and said the seizures would be challenged in court.
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 Enforcement Directorate claimed it has found that between 2006 and 2012, Mr Abdullah misused his position to launder JKCA funds. More than Rs 45 crore appear to have been siphoned off including large cash withdrawals, it said.
His assets attached include three residential and one commercial properties and four plots of land in Jammu and Kashmir. While the book value of these attached properties is Rs 11.86 crore, their market value is about Rs 60-70 crore, officials in the agency told news agency PTI.
Mr Abdullah, who was questioned twice in Srinagar in the case in October, and his party have linked the investigation to the recent move by the 83-year-old to bring together all Jammu and Kashmir parties in a campaign for restoring special status.
His son Omar Abdullah tweeted on Saturday, "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."
Dr Abdullah is in touch with his lawyers & will fight all these baseless charges in the one place that matters - a court of law, where everyone is presumed to be innocent & is entitled to a fair trial unlike in the court of the media or the court of BJP managed social media.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 19, 2020
Earlier, a National Conference spokesperson had said, "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."
"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 party.
Last year, Mr Abdullah was summoned by the agency was in July, 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 their rival-turned-ally Mehbooba Mufti - all former Chief Ministers - were among scores of politicians detained at the time.