Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed police to take all necessary steps to expeditiously investigate “serious allegations” of misappropriation of huge funds in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA).
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed the police to reconstruct the record damaged due to the September floods “within shortest possible time.”
“In view of the serious allegations made in this PIL, the investigation agency shall take all necessary steps to expeditiously investigate the case. The delay to reconstruct the record will benefit the accused persons,” the court said and directed the police to reconstruct the record and “proceed to investigate the case to bring the culprits to justice.”
The court also asked its registry to issue notice to former general secretary Mohammad Ahsan Mirza, his successor M L Nehru and the CAO Saleem Khan after hearing advocate Mian Qayoom, representing the petitioners—Majid Yaqoob Dar (a former Ranji Trophy player) and Nissar Ahmad Khan (a club level cricketer).
Qayoom submitted that the persons against whom the allegations of embezzlement of huge amount are leveled and which as per his submissions are substantiated by the report of the Probe Committee and the investigation conducted so far by police, be restrained to hold the positions in the Association.
“In order to proceed in the matter, it is deemed appropriate to issue notice to respondents 7 to 9 (Saleem Khan, Ahsan Mirza and M L Nehru) and afford them opportunity of heaving before passing any order,” the court said.
Apart from high-level investigation, the petitioners’ seek directions for recovery of Rs 40 crore which according to them have been swindled by Mirza and Saleem Khan.
“The money shall be deposited in the bank to be operated under the orders of the court,” the cricketers say in the PIL.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (City East Srinagar) filed status report and a document in a sealed cover. “The document in sealed cover to be kept on record of this PIL,” the court said.
On March 10, 2012 police had registered a case (FIR 27/2012) following a complaint from then chairman JKCA, Mohammad Aslam Goni through a fax mentioning that as per the report of then treasurer, Manzoor Ahmad Wazir, bogus accounts on JKCA funds have been operated in the various J&K Bank accounts by the ex-General Secretary and then Treasurer under their joint signatures. Goni had also alleged misappropriation of funds.
Initially the investigation of the case was carried by SHO of police station Ram Munishibagh but later District Police Headquarters Srinagar constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by then SDPO Nehru Park for the purpose.
During the course of the investigation, the police has said, JKCA official records were seized from its Headquarters at Sonwar as well as residential places of alleged accused— Mohammad Saleem Khan, and Ahsan Ahmad Mirza.
“The bank records relating to JKCA accounts were obtained and the statements of witnesses were recorded. During the course of investigation details relating to CCRs/FDRs prepared in the various bank branches were also obtained/seized which were operated by JKCA functionaries from time to time.”
In the meantime, police said, necessary correspondence was made with Administrative Officer BCCI Mumbai wherefrom the details of payments made by JKCA was obtained from the financial year 2002-03 up to December 31 2011 aggregating to Rs 112.67 crores through cheque from time to time and subsequently the bank accounts of JKCA central body were freezed.
On scrutiny of records, police said, an amount of Rs 3.80 crore was found outstanding against some previous office bearers, representatives of JKCA as well as other out of state cricket associations and construction agencies since 2002.
“The amount in question has been advanced to them for execution of the infrastructure development works as well as loan. Similarly cash amounting to Rs 4.06 crore has been found outstanding against four office bearers of JKCA as loan by different means.”
In addition, the police said, an amount of Rs 2.83 crore has been shown in expenditure under infrastructure development at various sites which was being verified technically by the professionals of engineering wing to authenticate its genuineness.