STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 11.86 crore of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and others in connection with its money laundering probe linked to alleged financial irregularities in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, official sources said on Saturday.
They 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.
ED attachment order ‘baseless’: Omar
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday termed the provisional attachment order of properties belonging to his father by the Enforcement Directorate as “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.
Senior CPI(M) leader and former legislator M Y Tarigami has said attaching the property of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah is part of vindictive politics practiced by the central government to kill dissent and disagreement across the country.
The media reports about ED attaching property of Farooq Abdullah is nothing but a political vendetta as the BJP government has been unnerved by the support of people to Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Deceleration (PAGD) in the just concluded District Development Council (DDC) polls, Tarigami said in a statement here.
The 83-year-old NC patron has been questioned by the ED in this case a number of times, the last being in October at Srinagar.
According to a handout issued by the Enforcement Directorate the attached properties include three residential houses, one at Gupkar Road, Srinagar; one at Tehsil Katipora, Tanmarg, and one at Bhatindi, Village Sunjwan, (Jammu); commercial buildings at posh Residency Road area of Srinagar. Besides, lands at four different places in J&K have also been attached. During investigations it is disclosed that out of the aforesaid attached properties the residence and land of Dr. Farooq Abdullah at Gupkar Road and commercial buildings at Residency Road, at prime upmarket locations, are basically State lands obtained on lease. It was also disclosed that the attached house at Bhatindi, Village Sunjwan, (Jammu) had been constructed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah on State land and Forest land, where he has also grabbed State land and Forest land.
The statement adds that between years 2005 – 2006 to December 2011, JKCA received funding totaling to Rs. 109.78 from BCCI. Between years 2006 to January 2012, when Dr. Farooq Abdullah was the President of JKCA he misused his position and clout by illegal appointments of office bearer at JKCA to whom he gave financial powers for the purpose of laundering of JKCA Funds. Investigation clearly brings out that Dr. Farooq Abdullah was instrumental as well as beneficiary of the laundered funds of JKCA.
It also stated that despite existing regular bank account of JKCA, six new bank accounts were opened for parking of JKCA Funds and siphoning of the same. One dormant bank account in the name of Kashmir Wing of JKCA was also made operational for the same purpose.
The statement added that during investigations so far it has surfaced that JKCA funds to the tune of more than Rs. 45 Crores has been siphoned, which includes heavy cash withdrawals of around Rs. 25 Crores, with no corresponding justification. Investigations disclose that for the purpose of generation of proceeds of crime, JKCA funds were layered by way of complex interbank transfers in all the bank accounts of JKCA and also by transfer to several personal bank accounts, followed by siphoning of the funds.
“Further investigation is going on”, the statement concluded.
The central probe agency issued a provisional order for attachment of the properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against which an appeal could be filed before the adjudicating authority of the PMLA within six month period.
The authority decides on the merit of the attachment and if it okays the ED action, the agency proceeds to confiscate the said asset.
The accused can further appeal against this order of the adjudicating authority before the appellate authority of the PMLA followed by the trial court, high court and the Supreme Court.