ED attaches properties worth Rs 7.25 cr in JKCA scam

Third attachment in case

NEW DELHI, Mar 4: The Enforcement Directorate today said it has “provisionally attached” immovable properties worth Rs 7.25 crore of Ahsan Ahmad Mirza in an ongoing case of alleged money laundering by former office bearers of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA).

This is the third attachment order in the case.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s property was provisionally attached in December 2020 and this was challenged in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Abdullah was JKCA president from 2001 to 2012 and the scam being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is about alleged financial misappropriation between 2004 and 2009.

In a statement, the ED said that in this case, properties worth Rs 14.32 crore have already been attached previously — Rs 2.46 crore of movable and immovable assets of Mirza and Mir Manzoor Ghazanfar, and Rs 11.86 crore of immovable assets of Abdullah.

Notwithstanding the challenge to the order by Abdullah, the adjudicating authority confirmed the provisional attachment of the earlier two orders. “The adjudicating authority has already confirmed the provisional attachment orders,” the statement mentioned.

The ED claimed that the probe by it so far has “revealed that Ahsan Ahmad Mirza in connivance with other office bearers of the JKCA, had misappropriated JKCA funds to the tune of Rs 51.90 crore and utilised proceeds of crime for settling his personal and business liabilities”.

It initiated the money laundering probe against the JKCA office bearers on the basis of a case registered at the Rammunshi Bagh Police Station in Srinagar.
The case was later transferred to the CBI on the High court’s directions.

The CBI has filed a charge sheet in the case against the former JKCA office bearers for misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 43.69 crore.

A prosecution complaint was also filed by the ED on November 1, 2019, against Mirza in the court of Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar (Special PMLA Court), after placing him under arrest. The trial is in progress, the statement said.

According to norms, after the ED issues a provisional order for attachment of properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), an appeal can be filed before the adjudicating authority of the PMLA within six months.

The authority decides on the merit of the attachment and if it okays the ED action, the agency proceeds to confiscate assets.

The accused can further appeal against an order of the adjudicating authority before the appellate authority of the PMLA followed by trial court, High Court and Supreme Court.

Abdullah challenged the ED’s order, and in his petition, which has annexed over 50 documents with it, highlighted every aspect of the JKCA scam.

It informed the court that it was at the instance of Abdullah that an in-house committee of the association was formed, which found two office bearers guilty of financial misappropriation, and that of a case being registered in the local police station.

Abdullah’s petition contended that the ED had nowhere conducted an independent inquiry into the case “rendering it inherently biased”.

“Nowhere has the ED satisfactorily offered reasons to believe that the petitioner is in possession of proceeds of crime, or that such proceeds are likely to be concealed,” it stated.

Challenging the provisional attachment order of the ED, it contended that the commercial property attached by the Central probe agency at Srinagar was shown even in records of the Estate Department as “undivided property held by the entire family of the petitioner (Abdullah). The lease was renewed in 1981.” (PTI)