Farooq challenges ED order attaching his property in J&K

Srinagar: National Conference (NC) President and Members of Parliament (MP) Farooq Abdullah has moved to J&K High Court (HC) challenging an Enforcement Directorate (ED) order attaching his properties worth Rs 12 crore in a case of alleged money laundering.

Official sources said that Dr Abdullah approached the J&K HC on Wednesday and filed a petition challenging the ED’s December last year order, attaching the property of the former chief minister under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The ED had alleged that between the years 2006 and 2012, Dr Abdullah took advantage of his position in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association by making illegal appointments at the JKCA and misused those appointments by giving them financial powers in order to launder funds. “The investigation conducted into the money laundering case revealed that the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was instrumental as well as beneficiary of the laundered funds of JKCA,” ED had said while attaching the property of Dr Abdullah.

However, Dr Abdullah in the petition has asserted that the properties were either ancestral or acquired before the alleged offence took place. “Therefore these properties were not involved in any money-laundering or related criminal activity,” it added.

Questioning the validity of the case, the petition further said that on the date of the registration of the Enforcement Commission Information Report (ECIR) and the initiation of investigation, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was governed by the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, 1956, and had special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

In the petition, Dr Abdullah said that the case under the Ranbir Penal Code (which was substitute to Indian Penal Code in the erstwhile state of J&K) was registered by the ED on December 28, 2018 without asserting whether it had any jurisdiction or not. On the next day, the ED issued a provisional order attaching the properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The attached properties include Dr Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar, where he lives. They also include two other residential properties in Tangamarg and Sunjwan, apart from commercial properties on Srinagar’s Residency Road. Lands owned by Dr Abdullah at four different places in Jammu and Kashmir has also been attached by the ED officials.

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