“Ready to face any agency”: Mehbooba writes to ED, questions process of legitimacy

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Srinagar: In a letter addressed to the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), the former chief minister and the People’s Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti, has accused the investigation agency of carrying out a witch hunt against her by targeting her family and acquaintances.

“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,” Mufti wrote in the letter. “The questioning of these persons is also focused on myself, my personal, political and financial affairs; my late father’s grave and memorial, my sister’s finances, home construction, my brother’s finances and personal affairs etc.”

Mufti, further, wrote that “a key person of the PDP”, Waheed Para, president of the party’s youth wing and who won the Pulwama A council seat in the recently concluded District Development Council elections, was “arrested by the NIA in what appears to be a non-existent case around the dates of the elections.” Mufti added: “On the eve of the results, several of my relatives and party leaders were kept in unlawful detention by the J&K administration.”

In the letter, a copy of which was also marked to the secretaries of the Government of India’s Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mufti has also hinted that the agency’s current investigation was politically motivated. “The use of the Enforcement Directorate against political opponents is not an unknown device for a party in power at the centre,” Mufti lashed out at the ED. “I am ready and willing to face any questioning by any agency. But I will insist upon the legitimacy of the process.”

Referring to the seizure of mobile phones and other digital devices of those already summoned by the ED, Mufti sought to draw the ED’s attention towards Section 21 (2) of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act of 2002 — the clause states that “The person, from whom records were seized, shall be entitled to obtain copies of records retained under sub-section.”

Last week, the ED claimed to have recovered 28 lakh rupees in raids at a former PDP legislator, Anjum Fazili’s properties in Srinagar and New Delhi. Addressing the press, Mufti had labelled the raids as a “witch hunt” against her and dared the Centre to fight her politically instead.

Mufti further sought to “also notify you of the constitutional right to privacy, the right to democratic politics and indeed the right to due process” and that if the agency “intend to question me or examine my electronic or digital devices, or those of the members of my family, you shall only do it in the presence of myself or my representative and under the supervision of an impartial / judicial authority.”

Mufti added that “If there is any breach of what I consider to be the norms of law, good conduct and constitutionalism, I shall not hesitate to take the matter up legally and politically.”

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