Srinagar: The latest summoning of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) president Dr Farooq Abdullah by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was termed by his party as the “price” the leader is paying for opposing Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government.
In a statement, the party said that the summons to Abdullah are part of the measures that the ruling party is employing against all the opposition parties in the country, including the NC.
“ED summons to JKNC President Dr Farooq Abdullah nothing new; this is common for all opposition parties in India.
He has continued to maintain his innocence in the matter and has cooperated with the investigative agencies and will do so in this case,” the party statement read.
Abdullah, who has served as Jammu and Kashmir’s chief minister thrice between 1982-2001, has been summoned by the law enforcement agency in a case related to a money scam in Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), reportedly.
The 84-year-old leader will have to appear before the ED on May 31. It is, however, unclear whether he will be questioned in matters related to other cases, the party insiders said. Imran Nabi Dar, the state spokesperson for NC, said that the latest summons to Abdullah is common for all opposition parties in India, especially ahead of the elections.
“Every time elections are expected to be announced in any state, the investigative agencies move in first to clear a path for the BJP. This appears to be the case this time, and this is the price opposition parties pay for opposing this government,” he said.
Dar added that the government has only targeted its opposition in the region as no such summons have been sent against the BJP members or its allies.
“It’s also not a coincidence that the only leaders targeted in J&K belong to the PAGD alliance parties,” he said.
Abdullah, the sitting MP from Srinagar parliamentary constituency, was earlier questioned for five hours by the ED in October 2020. This was only days after the regional political parties formed the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a group that has since been advocating the restoration of the pre-August 5 status of the erstwhile state of J&K. Abdullah is the president of PAGD, which is likely to put a united front against BJP and its allies in the UT, if and, when elections are announced.
Abdullah was named in a CBI charge sheet filed in 2018 along with other ex-office bearers, including General Secretary Mohammed Saleem Khan and treasurer Ahsan Mirza, for their alleged role in misappropriating funds that were meant for the promotion of cricket in J&K between 2002-11. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had given JKCA about Rs 112 crore, of which Rs 43.6 crore were allegedly “siphoned-off”.