Former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Srinagar in connection with a money laundering case, officials said. Mufti reached the ED office in Rajbagh at 11 am to face questioning in the case, they said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president did not appear before the agency in Delhi on Monday, citing she had prior commitments that could not be cancelled. Her request to ED officials that she be questioned in Srinagar instead of Delhi was accepted.
The 61-year-old leader, who was released last year after more than a year in detention following the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, was served a notice to appear at the ED headquarters in the national capital. On March 19, the Delhi High Court had refused to stay summons issued to her after she moved the court seeking quashing of the summons in the case.
The ED, which had earlier summoned Mufti March 15, had not insisted on her personal appearance at that time. "I write to you in reference to the summons issued to me to be present at your Delhi office on March 22. I have challenged in the Delhi High Court the constitutional vires of Section 50 of the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act), under which these summons are issued," she said in a letter to the ED.
Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the authority, that is, officers of the ED, to summon any person to give evidence or produce records. People who are summoned are bound to answer the questions put to them and to produce documents as required by the ED officers, failing which they can be penalised under the PMLA.
The PDP leader had said that without prejudice to any of the contentions in the proceedings before the high court, "I state that I am not in a position to attend the summon on March 22 as I have prior commitments that cannot be cancelled at such short notice". "If however you insist we must do it sooner, I am ready and willing to be questioned in Srinagar, preferably at my residence or through video conference from Srinagar," Mehbooba said in her letter.