JKCA money laundering case: ED seizes Rs 11.86 cr assets of Farooq

JKCA money laundering case: ED seizes Rs 11.86 cr assets of Farooq

New Delhi: The ED on Saturday attached residential and commercial properties worth nearly Rs 12 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.

His son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah termed the provisional attachment order of properties belonging to his father by the ED as "baseless" and wondered how an ancestral property could be seen as proceeds of "crime".

In a series of tweets, Omar Abdullah, who is the vice president of the NC, said his father "is in touch with his lawyers and will fight all these baseless charges in the one place that matters - a court of law".

He said everyone is presumed to be innocent and is entitled to a fair trial "unlike in the court of the media or the court of BJP managed social media".

He expressed wonder that the properties attached are largely ancestral dating from the 1970s with the most recent one built before 2003.

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.

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