Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) chairman and National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah was on Saturday granted bail after he appeared before a court here regarding a complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding suspected money laundering of funds meant for promotion of cricket in erstwhile J&K state.
Farooq appeared at around 1 pm before the Court of Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar which is also a special PMLA Court.
Earlier, when the case came up for hearing in the morning, his counsel Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khan sought Farooq’s exemption from today’s hearing.
However, upon the insistence of the court regarding the appearance of the “accused”, Farooq turned up at around 1 pm.
“He submitted his personal and surety bond to the tune of Rs 50,000 each,” Advocate Khan, representing the 84-year-old NC leader, told Greater Kashmir.
The case has now been listed for September 26 for further proceeding.
Meanwhile, the court also listed on the same date the CBI case for arguments on “charge and discharge” of the accused persons including Abdullah concerning JKCA funds.
The CBI has already filed a chargesheet in the case.
Senior counsel B A Bashir appeared before the court for Salim, one of the accused.
Abdullah was the JKCA president from 2001 to 2012 and the alleged misappropriation of funds, being probed by the ED, happened during his tenure as the head of the cricket’s governing body.
Among others, the accused in the case include former treasurer Ahsan Mirza and Mir Manzoor Gazanaffer, who was an authorised signatory in the bank accounts containing the JKCA funds, which were allegedly misappropriated.
The complaint was filed by the ED through Assistant Solicitor General of India, Tahir Majid Shamsi on June 10 this year and the court had issued summons to Abdullah and others for appearance before it on Saturday.
According to the ED, Abdullah appointed Ahsan Ahmad Mirza as Treasurer of JKCA without him being elected by the working committee members “which violated the rules of JKCA”.
“He also ensured that Mirza remained in control of the funds of JKCA by initially appointing him treasurer on his own and then making him a member of the finance committee which was not provided as per the rules of the JKCA,” the ED said.
Regarding Mir Manzoor Gazanaffer, the ED said that even though he was a member of the working committee and one of the office bearers of JKCA, he agreed to the opening of the bank accounts in his, as well as, in the name of Ahsan Ahmad Mirza, against the rules of JKCA.
The ED said not only the JKCA funds from the account in the Air Cargo branch of J&K Bank were transferred into the jointly-held account of Mir and Mirza, but also, Mir “knowingly facilitated transfers and cash withdrawals of JKCA funds to the extent of Rs 7.11 crore during the period of 2007-2009, from this account into account at J&K Bank Air Cargo and Residency Road branches.
“Though Mir claims to have written a letter to Farooq Abdullah, the then JKCA president, pointing out financial irregularities perpetrated in JKCA, he did not ensure this to be brought up before the working committee members of JKCA, nor he ever presented accounts before the working committee, though, he was the elected treasurer of JKCA,” the ED said.
Regarding Mirza, the ED said that he, under a well-planned conspiracy, initially parked funds received from the BCCI in the bank accounts of JKCA in the Zoonimar and Khanyar branches of the J&K Bank.
The ED said that thereafter he opened loan accounts against the funds received from BCCI, as well as in his name, in the same branches where funds from BCCI were received and then transferred such funds into his bank accounts and ultimately used the same for meeting his personal and business liabilities by way of transferring the funds to the accounts of his business associates and family members.
“He also withdrew huge cash out of the funds of JKCA and admittedly handed over the same to Farooq Abdullah,” the ED said.
The ED said that Mirza also prepared the books of accounts of JKCA at his residence and kept various transactions undisclosed to the auditors and working committee members of the JKCA.
The ED said that Mirza in association with Muhammad Saleem Khan (another accused and former general secretary), Mir Manzoor Gazanffer, Gulzar Ahmad Beigh (former accountant of JKCA), Bashir Ahmad Misgar (J&K Bank executive), and Farooq Abdullah siphoned off JKCA funds to the extent of Rs 51.90 crore during the period of 2005-06 to 2011-12.