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Political storm hits J&K after ED summons Mehbooba Mufti in money laundering case

Ishfaq-ul-Hassan | India Tomorrow

SRINAGAR–A political storm has hit Jammu and Kashmir after Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in a money laundering case.

ED has issued notice to Mehbooba asking her to appear before the headquarters at New Delhi on March 15.

“GOIs tactics to intimidate & browbeat political opponents to make them toe their line has become tediously predictable. They don’t want us to raise questions about its punitive actions & policies. Such short-sighted scheming won’t work,” tweeted Mehbooba.

Mehbooba’s daughter Ilitja Mufti told a news agency that the ED officials came to their residence to deliver a summon, but her mother was not present at home.

“It is a clear case of political vendetta. This is being done to intimidate my mother as she has been very vocal and critical of the government after the revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. But we are not scared, as we have nothing to hide,” she said.

Earlier in December 2020, Mehbooba had written a letter to the Director of the ED, claiming that various persons from Kashmir related to her were summoned by the agency.

“The only common thread connecting these persons appears to be that they are all acquainted with me, my family, or my politics in one way or another. The questioning of these persons is also focused on me, my personal, political, and financial affairs, my late father’s grave and memorial, my sister’s finances, home constructions, my brother’s finances, and personal affairs etc,” she had said in the letter.

The issue has snowballed into a major row with Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) calling it a “political vendetta”.

“Government of India should put an end to this kind of vendetta and allow democratic processes to continue smoothly,” said Farooq Abdullah, National Conference president and head of PAGD.

Summon was issued to Mehbooba days after she approached Jammu and Kashmir High Court for the passport. In December last year, Mehbooba had applied for a fresh passport after it expired on May 31. However, the passport application is pending at Regional Passport Office as police have yet to submit a verification report.

Mehbooba was among three former chief ministers including Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, who were detained under Public Safety Act after the centre abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019.

She was released in October 2020. However, she has vowed to fight for the restoration of the special status. She is one of the founding members of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a five-party conglomerate formed to fight for the restoration of Article 370.

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