Farooq rejects allegations as PDP stages walk-out

Farooq rejects allegations as PDP stages walk-out

12 March 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah today rejected as unfortunate the allegations of his involvement in the multi-crore J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) scam, an issue which rocked the Legislative Assembly today with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) disrupting Question Hour for about half an hour before staging a walk-out followed by a dharna outside the Legislature demanding registration of a FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) against Dr Abdullah like Suresh Kalmadi.'I have not taken a penny in any form from the JKCA. There is no question of any money being bungled. The tarnishing of my image is unfortunate,' Farooq, who heads the JKCA, told reporters in Delhi, breaking his silence on the allegations that there was bungling of funds received by the State cricket body from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The assertion by Farooq, who heads the JKCA, came on a day when opposition PDP raised the scam issue in the Assembly through an adjournment motion to enable an immediate discussion on the scam and demanded a CBI probe into alleged bungling of funds. PDP Legislature Party leader Mehbooba Mufti, who led her party MLAs walk-out in the Assembly after about half an hour long protests after Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone disallowed the motion on the ground that the issue has already figured in the House, later staged a dharna in stairs outside Central Hall of Legislature along with other party MLAs demanding that Farooq should meet the fate of Suresh Kalmadi. The notice was however rejected by Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone amid pandemonium with PDP members raising anti-Government slogans following up with a walkout. As soon as the House proceedings began for the day and the PDP members were on their feet, the Speaker said he has disallowed their motion as the issue has already been raised in the House and a FIR has also been registered in the case. The Speaker went ahead with the Question Hour despite protests by the PDP. Police had on Saturday registered a case against two former officials of JKCA following allegations of misappropriation of funds, received by the body from the BCCI. The case was registered against the then treasurer Ahsan Mirza and then general secretary Mohammad Saleem Khan based on the complaint lodged by JKCA chairman Mohammad Aslam Goni. After PDP members staged a walkout from the Assembly, its leader Mehbooba Mufti demanded that an FIR be lodged against Farooq. 'We demand a CBI probe in multi-crore scam in JKCA headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah as was done in case of Suresh Kalmadi. An FIR should be lodged against him', Mehbooba told reporters outside the Assembly complex. Mehbooba, who along with other members of PDP were sitting on stairs leading to Assembly complex and raising anti-Government slogans, said 'we want Centre to take cognizance of the multi-crore scam involving Farooq and take same measures as they did to their Chief Ministers and Ministers in connection with allegations against them besides Suresh Kalmadi'. Mehbooba also released a document to the press, which said 'on the authority of letter issued by president JKCA (Farooq Abdullah), a loan of '1.9 crore was raised against own deposits of the Association on July 3, 2008 and proceeds whereof were credited to current account No. 90605 of Ahsan Mirza maintained with the Bank unit. The documents had been signed by J&K Bank's Khanyar branch. To counter it, the JKCA released another resolution signed by JKCA president Dr Farooq Abdullah and then general secretary Saleem Khan on the loan amount. It said the loan raised will be liquidated by the Association towards the Bank in due course of time before maturity of both the certificates. Reacting to Mehbooba's allegations against him, Farooq said she should check facts before making charges. 'I am too clean for Mehbooba Mufti to rub dirt on me,' he said, adding, 'law will take its own course.' The Union Minister reiterated there was no embezzlement of any funds. As Assembly proceedings began this morning, PDP legislators led by Mehbooba, who is also Leader of Opposition, raised the issue of alleged financial bungling in JKCA. Javaid Mir and A R Veeri, both former Ministers sought adjournment of the business of the question hour and holding of a debate. The members stood up from their benches and resorted to sloganeering against the State Government. Even as the Question Hour continued amid noisy scenes, there was no let up in slogan shouting by PDP members. Mehbooba alleged that it was Farooq as President of JKCA who wrote to Bank to facilitate transitions. 'He cannot make someone scape-goat and allow himself to go scot-free,' she said. However, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters that PDP wanted to rake up the issue for political gains. 'When an FIR has been lodged on the direction of Dr Abdullah himself, how is that they reach to conclusions'?, he asked and questioned ‘‘how the PDP has reached the conclusion to allege there was a ' 50 Crore embezzlement.' The embezzlement of several crores of rupees was detected in JKCA funds a few days ago, following which the then treasurer Ehsan Mirza and former general secretary and current Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Saleem Khan were sacked from the JKCA. In a letter to JKCA chairman Mohammad Aslam Goni on Saturday, the Khanyar branch manager of JK Bank wrote that an amount of ' 1.90 crore has been credited to the account of Mirza based on the authority letter allegedly issued by the JKCA President. Farooq said this amount was released following a resolution passed by JKCA to allow work of the association to go on. The PDP MLAs indulged in massive sloganeering in the House during half an hour long pandemonium including 'Stadium Mein Shor Hai, Gali Gali Mein Shor Hai, Kashmir Mein Shor Hai, Har Channel, Akhbaar Mein Shor Hai, Pure Mulak Mein Shor Hai, Yeh Sarkaar Chor Hai' and 'Abhi Abhi Yeh Khabar Aayi, Kalmadi Farooq Bhai Bhai'. NC MLA Nazir Gurezi countered with his slogan 'Gali Gali Mein Shor Hain, Inko Takleef Kuch Aur Hai'. Initially, the PDP members protested from their seats but later they reached middle of the House. However, Mehbooba Mufti remained seated. After half an hour protests, the PDP MLAs led by Ms Mufti walked-out of the House. Mehbooba said the scam was just a tip of iceberg and it could run into several ’Arabs and Kharabs'. He said the people wanted 'bijli, sadak and pani' but their amount was being embezzled. ‘‘The youths want to become Sachin here but their amount has been swindled. Earlier, the youth of Kashmir were taking to the streets but the way the Government was behaving, the youths of Jammu would also come out and protest', she cautioned. She said NC worker Haji Mohammad Yusuf, who had raised his voice against the 'money business in NC’’ died under mysterious circumstances. In the Council, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association scandal stormed the Upper House of the Legislature, leading to strong protest and then walk-out by the PDP members. Immediately after the House commenced its routine business with the ‘Question Hour’ at 11 am today, the PDP members Murtaza Ahmed Khan, Nizam-ud-Din Khatana and Mohd Ashraf Mir stood up and asked the Chairman of the Legislative Council, Amrit Malhotra to hold discussion on the issue of JKCA scandal, alleging that public exchequer worth crores has been swindled. The PDP members pressed for the immediate discussion on the subject claiming that this issue was of very sensitive nature and many ‘big fish’ were involved in it. They alleged that funds worth crores have been siphoned out and the corruption and plunder of public money has crossed all the limits. Dr. Abdullah, said that certain news channels are carrying the news that he had authorized a loan to Ahsan Ahmad Mirza the then treasurer of the Association. He clarified that when the accounts of the JKCA were sealed by the Court and no money was available to run the day to day affairs of the Association, Ahsan Mirza treasurer of the Association advanced interest free loans from time to time for running of the affairs to JKCA from his own personal funds which had accumulated to ' 1.90 crores. On June 28, 2008, the JKCA unanimously resolved that the interest free loan of ' 1.90 cr Ninety Lacs only raised by the JKCA from Ahsan Mirza has to be repaid. As such it was unanimously resolved by JKCA that J&K Bank branch Khanyar be authorized to raise a loan of an amount of ' 1.90 crores against two cash certificates of JKCA with the J&K Bank Air Cargo Branch bearing No. 2587618 and 2587619 amounting to ' 1,07,39416 each. It was further resolved that the amount of '1.90 crores so raised be transferred to Account No. 90605 of Mirza to liquidate the loan amount he had forwarded to the Association from time to time. The Association further resolved that the loan so raised will be liquidated by the Association, Farooq said. He added that it is clear that he did not authorize any loan in his individual capacity and the loan raised was on the basis of a unanimous resolution of the JKCA passed by the JKCA Governing Body and the same was done to square up the borrowings of JKCA which is all properly documented. Dr. Abdullah further said that so far as the happenings after 2008 are concerned, the JKCA has already lodged an FIR and the J&K Police which has seized the documents will conduct a detailed investigation and the law shall take its own course. He said whosoever is found guilty will have to face the consequences as per law. He said that by making preferred leaks to the media and by not putting all the facts in the public domain certain forces are trying to make an unsuccessful attempt to tarnish his image for political mileage knowing well that he is absolutely clean. He said he is open to any scrutiny for his conduct as President of the JKCA. Farooq said that he has also requested the BCCI to depute its auditors who can sit with the auditors of the JKCA and conduct a joint audit of the accounts to know the facts. Dr. Abdullah said that JKCA was infact the whistle blower in the case when certain facts were brought to his notice and this tirade against him was baseless and frivolous.