Cricket Scam: CBI Charges Farooq Abdullah
Srinagar: The CBI has chargesheeted Farooq Abdullah, Kashmir's happy-go-lucky former chief minister, in an alleged financial scam at the state cricket association, prompting his party to allege a political conspiracy.
The 80-year-old National Conference president, who had headed the cricket body for a long time, and three others are accused of siphoning off Rs 43.69 crore from Rs 112 crore worth of grants the national cricket board had sent between 2002 and 2011.
If convicted, Farooq and the co-accused - two former cricket officials and a local bank executive - can be jailed for up to 10 years.
Farooq is in England but party sources said he would return in a day or two and cooperate with the court. Farooq, who had been a Union minister too, had never before been accused in any scam.
Party general secretary A.M. Sagar said the charges were politically motivated. "Farooq sahib was president of the association and was not handling its accounts."
Farooq's son and former chief minister Omar tweeted: "In light of the developments in the JKCA matter this is the our response. I will not be addressing this issue separately except to say I have no doubt at the end of the legal process my father will be found innocent & free of any allegations of wrong doing."
A party spokesperson highlighted that it was Farooq who had sought the registration of an FIR when the alleged scam surfaced in 2012.
The charges come at a time of political uncertainty in the
state, where the Centre clamped governor's rule last month after the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti's PDP-led government. This had raised hopes of an NC revival, with Omar calling for fresh elections.