Srinagar, Mar 18: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday referred to its division bench a petition filed by National Conference President Farooq Abdullah against an order by Enforcement Directorate, attaching his properties in a case of alleged money laundering.
“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 (Farooq Abdullah) 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,” a bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur said.
“Considering the fact that the genesis of the proceedings both against the petitioner, Dr. Farooq Abdullah as also the appellant, Ahsan Ahmad Mirza (former treasurer of JKCA), lies in the case which is pending trial before the Designated Court and the issues being common, in my opinion, therefore, are required to be considered together,” he said.
In these circumstances, Justice Thakur, having expressed opinion that the matter be considered by a Division Bench, both the senior Counsel—Sidharth Luthra, as also Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India expressed no objection.
“Be that as it may, Registrar Judicial of this Court is directed to list this matter before the appropriate Bench after seeking due permission from the Chief Justice,” the court added.
The court said that it can be seen that an FIR bearing No. 27/2012 dated 10th March, 2012 came to be registered under Section 409,406, and 120-B RPC in Police Station, Ram Mushi Bagh, in connection with “misappropriation” of funds of the JKCA.
The investigation of the case was subsequently transferred to the CBI in September 2015 by virtue of an order passed in a PIL—Majid Yakoob Dar and Another vs. State of JK and Ors.
“After investigation, the CBI filed its final report and the matter is pending trial before the Designated Court. Amongst others, the petitioner, Dr. Farooq Abdullah as also Ahsan Ahmad Mirza have been reflected as accused in the case. Consequent upon the filing of the challan before the appropriate court, proceedings have been initiated by the Authorities under the PML Act against the petitioner as also against Ahsan Ahmad Mirza.”
Ahsan Ahmad Mirza had challenged proceedings before the court in 2019 and his petition was later dismissed on 15 October that year. Mirza’s appeal is pending before a Division Bench.
Farooq, the former three-time Chief Minister of J&K, has challenged the action of the Authorities under the PML Act, among others on the issue of jurisdiction, the applicability of PML Act to the erstwhile State as also on grounds of illegality and procedural irregularities.
The 83-year-old parliamentarian has said his ancestral and family properties in J&K have been illegally attached by ED despite the fact that it had “no jurisdiction to do the same.”
“The illegal, excessive and arbitrary attachment of properties has resulted in grave injustice to the Petitioner (Farooq), and is a continuing violation of his fundamental rights under Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution.”
In 2012, he submitted in the plea that certain allegations regarding the siphoning off of JKCA funds emerged.
“As per the Final Report, these discrepancies were noticed by the then Treasurer, Manzoor Ahmed Wazir who brought it to the notice of the President (Farooq) who convened an immediate meeting of the Office Bearers of JKCA and subsequently an FIR No. 27/2012 dated 10.03.2012 under Sections 409, 406, 120B RPC was registered in PS Ram Munshi Bagh naming the erstwhile General Secretary and Treasurer namely Saleem Khan and Ahsan Ahmad Mirza as accused persons.”
“A bare perusal makes it amply clear that the ED has simply adopted the case of the CBI and the resulting Final Report filed against the Petitioner (Farooq),” he submitted.