The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has summoned independent lawmaker and Awami Itehad Party (AIP) chief Sheikh Abdul Rashid in connection with a “terror-funding” case.
Rashid was first interrogated by the investigating agency in September 2017 and at that time he had termed the probe “politically motivated”.
In 2017, the MLA had been probed for “possible links” with businessman Zahoor Watali, who had been arrested by the NIA in a “terror-funding” case.
NIA’s summon to Rashid comes close on the heels of grilling of three-time chief minister and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of “money laundering” and “embezzlement” of Rs 112 crore of the J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) that it had received from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
On Sunday, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) also sent a notice to former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti regarding the “backdoor appointments” in J&K Bank during her tenure in office.
Meanwhile, AIP spokesperson Sheeban Ashai said Rashid had been summoned by NIA on Friday.
“Despite his reluctance to leave at such a short notice, Rashid had to reach for the NIA questioning Sunday morning and has been there since,” he said. “AIP and its leadership is open to all kinds of probity and has nothing to hide but such last minute summons, at a time when Kashmir is going through such great political uncertainty, raises many red flags.”
AIP denounced the “witch-hunt” against its leadership for trying to forge unity among various stakeholders for safeguarding Article 35-A and Article 370.
“We would want to assure the entire Kashmiri nation that AIP and its cadre can’t be forced into subjugation by such cowardly tactics and would resist all assaults to silence the credible political voices,” AIP said.