After a marathon four-hour questioning by the Enforcement Directorate, former chief minister and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said dissent has been criminalised in the country and political opponents are being hounded by different agencies.
She said there will be no change in the party's strategy for fighting for the rights of people and she is committed to continuing her battle for the restoration of Article 370.
“They (ED) asked questions about the two issues, one was about my father’s land at Bejbehara. They asked how we sold it and how much money we got out of its sale. They asked as chief minister how the list of widows to whom the secret funds were given was framed,” Mehbooba said.
She dismissed the ED investigation as a move to silence the dissent, saying for the past two years the government had been searching everything to find something against her. She said she has nothing to hide and after two years of search. All they are asking her about her father’s house and its sale, his graveyard, and secret funds of the chief minister distributed among widows.
“Dissent has been criminalised in this country. Either you are ruled by the ED, NIA or the CBI. Whosoever raises his or her voice here, they are using ED against those people,” she said.
“The country is not being run according to the Constitution but in accordance with the ideology of a particular political party. Whosoever raises the voice is being hounded and this will continue. If anyone speaks against them (the government) they will either come up with money laundering or any other case against him,” she said.
She said she and her party will continue to fight politically for the restoration of Article 370.
In a tweet she said, "To set the record straight, during the course of my questioning at ED, right from the start I insisted on not signing any statements till I consulted my lawyers. But I was shown rule books & told that not signing would have consequences."
To set the record straight, during the course of my questioning at ED, right from the start I insisted on not signing any statements till I consulted my lawyers. But I was shown rule books & told that not signing would have consequences.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 25, 2021
The ED on March 15 had summoned Mehbooba for questioning her in a “money laundering” case. Mehbooba was supposed to appear before the ED for questioning on March 22. She, however, refused to appear before the ED in New Delhi and replied to it that she won’t be able to travel to Delhi due to her political and social engagements and if they have any case against her they can either come to Srinagar or carry out the investigation through video conferencing. The ED chose the first option and questioned her in its Srinagar office.
Last week, Delhi High Court refused to stay the summons issued to Mehbooba by the ED in the money laundering case. Mehbooba, in her petition, has said she has not been informed if she is being summoned as an accused or as a witness.
Earlier, Mehbooba had said the ED summons as the Centre’s “tactics to intimidate and browbeat political opponents” won’t work. “GOI’s 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,” she had written on Twitter, without any mention of the ED notice.
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