Rashid Paul

HC asks DB to consider Abdullah’s petition challenging ED jurisdiction

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JKCA money laundering case

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday ordered consideration by division bench the case relating to former chief minister and NC president Farooq Abdullah challenging the jurisdiction of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to attach his property in the alleged financial irregularities in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA).

Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur ordered “the matter be considered by a Division Bench of this court” as Sidharth Luthra, representing Abdullah, and also Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India expressed no objection.

Justice Thakur directed the Registrar Judicial of the J&K High Court to list the matter along with records before the appropriate bench after seeking permission from Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal.

He referred to the case of Ahsan Ahmad Mirza (former treasurer of JKCA), who too has been reflected as accused in the money laundering case wherein proceedings have been initiated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) like Abdullah.

Mirza had challenged the action, which was however dismissed by a Coordinate Bench of J&K High Court on 15th of October 2019.

He then filed an appeal which is pending before a Division Bench of the court.

Pertinently Abdullah’s writ petition also challenges the action of the authorities under the PML A, the jurisdiction of ED, the applicability of PMLA to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and also the grounds of illegality and procedural irregularities.

“Having gone through the writ petition as also the judgment of the Coordinate Bench in Ahsan Mirza’s case, it can be seen that some of the issues raised by the petitioner in the present petition were also issues, which were raised and decided by the Coordinate Bench, which now form the subject matter of consideration by the Division Bench of this court,” observed Justice Thakur.

He said “given the genesis of the proceedings against Farooq Abdullah and that Ahsan Ahmad Mirza’s case is pending trial before the designated court and the issues being common, in my opinion both the cases are required to be considered together”.

By virtue of an order, the ED had attached Abdullah’s several properties in the misappropriation of funds case in JKCA for which an FIR was registered in 2012 in Police Station Ram Mushi Bagh Srinagar.

The investigation of the case was subsequently transferred to the CBI in September 2015 after an order passed by a Division Bench of J&K High Court in a public interest litigation by one Majid Yakoob Dar.

After investigation, the CBI filed its final report and the matter is pending trial before the designated court.

“All of my properties attached by the ED are either ancestral or acquired prior to the date of the alleged offences,” Abdullah told the court through his lawyers.

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