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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday attached residential and commercial properties worth nearly Rs 11.86 crore of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah in an ongoing case of alleged money laundering, drawing strong reaction from his party National Conference (NC) which said these properties were "largely ancestral" and he would challenge the action in a court of law.
Among the properties attached is a house on Gupkar Road where the 84-year-old leader has been residing for several decades. The house is said to have been built in the 1970s by his father late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, the erstwhile state's chief minister, and is said to have been inherited by Farooq Abdullah.
The action, which comes hours after the eight-phased District Development Council (DDC) election was over, has been taken by the Enforcement Directorate (ED in connection with its probe in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA).
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.
According to the ED statement, "the attached properties include three residential houses -- one at Gupkar Road in Srinagar, another at KatiporaTehsil in Tanmarg and one at Bhatindi in Sunjwan village of Jammu."
"A commercial building at posh Residency Road in Srinagar has also been attached besides lands at four different places in J&K," the agency said in a statement.
While the book value of these attached properties is Rs 11.86 crore, their market value is estimated to be about Rs 60-70 crore, officials said.
The 84-year-old NC patron has been questioned by the ED in this case a number of times, the last being in October at Srinagar.
The attached properties of Abdullah at Gupkar Road and at Residency Road (prime upmarket locations) are on state land that has been obtained on lease, it said.
The house at Bhatindi (Jammu) has been constructed by Abdullah on a "grabbed" forest land of the government, the agency alleged.
The ED alleged Abdullah "misused" his position as the president of the JKCA in the past and made appointments in the sports body so that BCCI sponsored funds could be laundered.
The statement said the ED probe has found that "JKCA funds to the tune of more than Rs 45 crore have been siphoned, which includes huge cash withdrawals to the tune of Rs 25 crore, with no corresponding justification".
It said between 2005-2011, JKCA received a total Rs 109.78 crore funds from the BCCI for conducting various cricket activities in the erstwhile state.
"Between 2006-January 2012, when Dr Farooq Abdullah was the President of JKCA, he misused his position and clout by illegal appointments of office bearers at JKCA to whom he gave financial powers for the purpose of laundering of JKCA funds."
"Abdullah was instrumental as well as beneficiary of the laundered funds of JKCA," the agency alleged.
It said 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 ED said, adding the JKCA funds were "layered" by way of complex inter-bank transfers in all the bank accounts and also by transfer to several personal bank accounts, followed by siphoning of the funds.
List Of Properties To Be Sealed
Twelve properties of Farooq Abdullah ordered to be sealed include Residential Building on the land at Estate Sonwar (Gupkar Road), Tehsil Srinagar (South), District Srinagar, Four Commercial Buildings on the land at Estate Kothibagh, Tehsil Srinagar (South), District Srinagar, Residential Building / construction at Katipora, Tehsil Tanmarg (District Baramulla, Zoonimar, Tehsil Eidgah, District Srinagar, Katipora, Tehsil Tanmarg, District Baramulla, Khallamulla, Tehsil Ganderbal, District Ganderbal, Village Sunjwan, Bhatindi, Tehsil Bahu, District Jammu, Land at Estate Sonwar (Gupkar Road), Tehsil Srinagar (South), District Srinagar, Land at Estate Kothibagh, Tehsil Srinagar (South), District Srinagar, where Dr. Farooq Abdullah is lessee, Balance leased land out of 10 Kanal& 15 Marla at Estate Kothibagh, Tehsil Srinagar (South), District Srinagar valued at ₹ 6,46,99,259, where Dr. Farooq Abdullah holds 1/3rd share, Village Sunjwan, Bhatindi (Jammu), State and Forest land occupied by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Khasra No. 04 (State Land), Khasra Nos. 05 &06 (Forest Land), Residential House at Village Sunjwan, Bhatindi, Tehsil Bahu, District Jammu, on State and Forest Land at Village Sunjwan, Bhatindi (Jammu), Khasra No. 04 (State Land) and Khasra Nos. 05 & 06 (Forest Land).
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