Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi today in a 12-year-old case pertaining to alleged money laundering at the J&K Bank. Emerging after the five-hour questioning, Mr Abdullah said he was not an accused and was just helping with the investigation.
"There's an ongoing investigation...some 12 to 13-year-old case for which the inquiry is going on. I was asked questions and I answered them. If they need me in the future, I will help them... They did not accuse me of anything," he said.
His party, the National Conference, however, ripped into the Centre accusing it of misusing the Central investigative agencies ahead of the elections. Polls in the newly formed Union Territory will be held after the ongoing delimitation exercise after nearly five years of President's Rule.
"There was a time when polls were announced by the Election Commission but now it seems that they are announced by the ED," a spokesperson of the National Conference said.
JKNC Vice President Omar Abdullah was called by the ED to Delhi to appear before it today on the grounds that his attendance was necessary in connection with an investigation. Even though this exercise is political in nature he will cooperate as there is no wrongdoing on his part pic.twitter.com/ixYFgnWlHS— JKNC (@JKNC_) April 7, 2022
"Over the recent years we have seen that wherever state elections are due, agencies like the ED move in and target those parties who pose a challenge to the BJP... No political party that puts up meaningful opposition to the BJP has been spared. Whether it is the ED, CBI, NIA, NCB -- all have been used for political purposes," the spokesperson said.
The case pertains to the purchase of the J&K Bank's building in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla in 2010, when former finance minister Haseeb Drabu was its chairman. The role of Mr Abdullah was limited to approving the appointment of the chairperson.
In the case filed last year, it has been alleged that the bank had approved the purchase of a 42,000-sq ft property for Rs 109 crore. But ultimately, a two-member committee headed by Mr Drabu and the then bank board, approved the purchase of 65,000 square feet of property at a cost of Rs 172 crore.
"We have no doubt that this fishing expedition will yield no concrete results to the BJP and the people will give a ringing endorsement to the national conference as and when required," the National Conference later said on Twitter.