‘Not Biryani, A Scam is Cooking’: How J&K ACB Unearthed Corruption in Football Association


Biryani or the lack of it tipped off the Jammu and Kashmir Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on a major corruption case, involving top representatives of the J&K Football Association (JKFA).

The ACB has booked JKFA president Zamir Thakur SS Bunty, treasurer SA Hameed, chief executive Fayaz Ahmad and a few others on charges of allegedly swindling funds worth Rs 43 lakh.

No arrests have been made so far and officials say more names will be thrown up during the course of further investigations.

News18 tried to reach out to the JKFA members for response, couldn’t contact them.

THE PROBE SO FAR

Prima facie, investigation has found that JKFA members prepared fictitious bills worth Rs 43 lakh against purchase of biryani for refreshment that was shown only on papers and not given to the players during practice sessions or matches.

Fake bills and receipts prepared by one individual, clear from the use of same handwriting and signatures, were shown paid to Mughal Darbar, a famous eatery in Srinagar, for refreshment being served to different teams on different dates, officials told News 18.

News18 has accessed the documents including the receipts.

The ACB sleuths, however, found no refreshment was purchased for any team in any district of Kashmir province. The bills raised were found to be fake.

“No food was ordered from the restaurant at all,” said an official investigating the case.

Officials privy to the case said the bills have been sent to Forensic Sciences Department to ascertain the individual and on whose directions he prepared the bills.

“The forensic experts will match the handwriting of the accused officials with that on the receipts and bring forth more evidence,” an official said.

STATIONERY, HARDWARE ‘BILLS’

The ACB sleuths have also found out that an amount of Rs 1,41,300 and Rs 1 lakh was entered in receipts of a stationery shop and a hardware store for various purchases, also turned out to be bogus.

It was revealed that the J&K Sports Council — a prime body to hold sports events — released these funds to the JKFA in advance to carry out sports activities during the height of street demonstrations, in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.

The money to host competition between 2016 and 2017 was given by then J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Government of India to the JKFA through the J&K Sports Council, officials said.

Mufti had released Rs 1 crore each in Jammu and Kashmir region to wean away youngsters from agitation after Wani was killed in the summer of 2016.

A big chunk of money, the probe points out, was, however, pocketed by the JKFA members.

The ACB started investigations into the case when a few whistleblowers pointed to the discrepancies. A case under various sections of forgery and criminal conspiracy to commit a crime have been registered in the ACB Police station, Srinagar.

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