PDP Unleashes Coup To Oust Farooq From Scam Hit JKCA

20 July 2015
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: People's Democratic Party (PDP) virtually unleashed a coup d'état to oust the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah from the last bastion of power as the president of scam-tainted Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) on Monday. Farooq was replaced by the Jammu and Kashmir sports minister and PDP MLA from Pattan constituency Imran Raza Ansari as the president of JKCA in the elections that were stayed by the excise magistrate Jammu just hours after the results were out. It is the second time in the last one year that Farooq had to taste a defeat. Farooq lost the elections for the first time in his political career last year when he was defeated by PDP leader Tariq Karra from Srinagar LoK Sabha constituency. Later in December 2014, his National Conference suffered a crushing defeat in the assembly polls. Ansari was elected unopposed with 44 out of 64 members that form the electoral college, present in the elections which were held in the presence of senior IAS officers here on Monday morning. Farooq, who was the head of powerful JKCA since 1980 with a break of just one year in between, was not present when the polls were held. Farooq along with nine others are accused in Rs 113 crore cricket scam that rocked the JKCA some years ago. Investigators have proved prima facie involvement of Farooq in the murky dealings of the JKCA. Farooq along with nine office-bearers, are charged under Sections 406, 168 and 120-B of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) for making the sports body a lending agency and for operating many bogus accounts. A high drama unfolded after the elections with Ansari led new office bearers' team rushing to take over the charge and opertionalizing the bank accounts of the JKCA despite the court's stay. 'Excise magistrate Jammu has stayed all the decisions taken by the working committee of JKCA today. Court has passed the order and unless it is vacated it is to be followed and obeyed. Farooq continues to be the president of JKCA', Abhinav Sharma, counsel for Farooq Abdullah faction of JKCA told dna. A crisis of sort however hit the JKCA after both factions quoting rule books claimed that their nominee -Imran Raza Ansari and Farooq Abdullah - is the president of the sports body. Former IAS officer and PDP leader Mehboob Iqbal, who was elected chairman of JKCA, claimed Ansari has been duly elected as president of the JKCA given that Farooq's one year term had already ended on May 11 this year under rule 8 of the Association. 'Working committee comprised of 64 members. We have 34 affiliated clubs and each club has two members in the working committee. The rule 8 says elections are to be held every year. Rules can be altered. , but it has to be done in the extraordinary council meeting which has not been held before June 26', Iqbal told dna. ML Nehru, general secretary of Farooq led JKCA, however said rule 8 has been amended on June 26 2011 by the general council and the term of president has been increased from one year to three years. 'This is a dissident group which have pre-poned the elections. The elections are illegal because the rule says the notice has to be issued by general secretary and all working committee meeting has to be chaired by the president. We have the judgement of Justice Kirmani passed on July 2 2007 in this regard', Nehru told dna. Crisis notwithstanding, Ansari remained unfazed saying the elections have been held and he has been duly elected the president. 'Cricket is in mess and there is a lot of problem. Cricket Association has been sending letters to Farooq Sahab to hold elections. We have held the elections and the file will now go to BCCI', he said. Farooq too was not in a mood to relent saying he would fight to the grave. 'I am not a gunda like them. I am the son of Sher-e-Kashmir and will fight to the grave. PDP is adopting divide and rule policy. Instead of solving problems of the people, the PDP government is creating more', he said.