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Properties attached ancestral; my father will fight baseless charges: Omar on ED action against Farooq

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Srinagar: Reacting to Enforcement Directorate attaching several properties of his father Farooq Abdullah, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said that they will fight the matter in court as the properties are “largely ancestral.”

In a series of tweets, Omar defended his father and questioned why media was tipped off before his father received any official notice.

“My father has seen the media reports regarding attachment of his properties in the ongoing investigation in to the JKCA matter. Not surprisingly the media was tipped off regarding the seizure before he had received any official notice or documentation,” he wrote on twitter.

In another tweet, he said, “Dr Abdullah is in touch with his lawyers & will fight all these baseless charges in the one place that matters – a court of law, where everyone is presumed to be innocent & is entitled to a fair trial unlike in the court of the media or the court of BJP managed social media.”

“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.

To mention, the Enforcement Directorate Saturday attached property worth Rs 11.86 crore of Farooq Abdullah under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.

The ED action is in connection with laundering of funds of Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), the officials said.

The attached properties, according to an official ED statement, includes three residential houses—one at Gupkar Road, Srinagar, one at Tehsil Katipora, Tanmarg, and one at Bhatindi, Village Sunjwan, (Jammu) besides commercial buildings at Residency Road area of Srinagar.

Apart from it, land at four different places in J&K have also been attached, the statement added.

“During investigations it is disclosed that out of the attached properties the residence & 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 said.

“It was also disclosed that the attached house at Bhatindi, Village Sunjwan, (Jammu) had been constructed by Dr. Farooq on State land and Forest land, where he has also grabbed State land and Forest land”.

“Between years 2005–2006 to December 2011, JKCA received funding totaling to Rs. 109.78 crore from BCCI,” it said.

The statement alleged that between years 2006 to January 2012, when Farooq 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. 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,” read the statement.

During investigations so far, the ED said, 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 inter-bank transfers in all the bank accounts of JKCA and also by transfer to several personal bank accounts,followed by siphoning of the funds,” the ED said, adding, “further investigation is ongoing.”