Rebel Kashmir Leader Farooq Abdullah Questioned in Money-Laundering Case

Photo: Farooq Abdullah
Photo: Farooq Abdullah

Mehbooba Mufti said that unleashing of ED on Abdullah is part of a political vendetta of the government.

By Rakesh Raman

After forming a political group to get the special status of Kashmir restored, local octogenarian leader Farooq Abdullah faces a sudden backlash from the government.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India – which investigates financial crimes – today (October 19) questioned Abdullah for alleged irregularities in the funds of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Cricket Association.

According to reports, the ED is looking into money-laundering allegations connected to the J&K cricket body. Earlier in 2018, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a chargesheet against him, a National Conference MP, and three others, for alleged misappropriation of Rs. 43 crore between 2002-11.

His political party National Conference believes that the government has gone vindictive because Abdullah has launched a movement against PM Narendra Modi’s government to restore the rights of the people of Kashmir.

Abdullah, 82, had declared on October 15 an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The new alliance named “People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration” aims to get the special status of J&K restored. PM Modi’s government had abolished Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019 to deprive Kashmiris of their special rights.

Recently, Abdullah had also said that the people of Kashmir – nearly 80% of them are Muslims – do not want to live with India. In a media interview, he said categorically that Kashmiris have no trust in the Central government led by PM Modi and his home minister Amit Shah. He had added that people of troubled Kashmir prefer to live under the Chinese rule instead of living with India.

Mehbooba Mufti said that unleashing of ED on Abdullah is part of a political vendetta of the government. She tweeted: “ED’s sudden summon to Farooq sahab displays the extent of GOIs (Govt of India) nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit. Also reeks of political vendetta and won’t in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights.”

Abdullah was also summoned by the ED last year in July 2019, days before the government detained him to avoid political unrest in the troubled Kashmir, which is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.

Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – all former Chief Ministers – were among a slew of politicians detained last year. They were released recently after they spent months in detention.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman