Election Commission sends notice to Engineer Rashid over poll expenditure discrepancy

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Srinagar, (CNI): A notice has been issued to newly elected MP Sheikh Abdul Rashid, also known as Engineer Rashid who is in jail in a terror funding case, over a significant disparity in his election expenditure report for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The election authority has asked for a response within two days.

 

The notice was served by the deputy district election officer in Baramulla Tuesday, highlighting the expenditure register submitted by Rashid showed Rs 2.10 lakh, while the actual amount recorded in the shadow register maintained by observers amounted to Rs 13.78 lakh.

 

Rashid, incarcerated in Delhi’s Tihar Jail following his arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2019 on terror funding charges, has been granted a two-hour custody parole to take oath as a Lok Sabha member on July 5. He had sought interim bail or custody parole to fulfil his parliamentary duties.

 

The notice requested Rashid or a representative of his to appear before the district expenditure monitoring committee within two days to address the discrepancy and ensure timely submission of the expenditure report to the Election Commission of India.

 

A failure to comply with election expense reporting requirements could lead to disqualification by the Election Commission under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for a period of three years, the notice said.

 

Elected as an independent candidate, Rashid won the Baramulla seat by defeating National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

 

Questions were raised during the Lok Sabha elections as to how Rashid’s liabilities reduced significantly and assets increased over the past five years despite him being in jail.

 

According to the 2024 poll affidavit, the former MLA’s assets were valued at Rs 1.55 crore compared to Rs 80 lakh in 2019. It includes a 41,072 sq ft non-agriculture land in his home town Langate and a house in Srinagar worth Rs 90 lakh.

 

A science graduate with a diploma in civil engineering, Rashid has declared Rs 11.31 lakh home loan and Rs 3.11 lakh Kisan Credit Card loan as liabilities.

 

Five years earlier, he had declared a residential house in the posh Jawahar Nagar locality of Srinagar, purchased in 2017, as his only asset and also stated that he had a liability of Rs 60 lakh towards a home loan from a bank.

 

Rashid won the Langate assembly segment in 2008 and 2014. He unsuccessfully contested the 2019 parliamentary elections.

 

On October 7, 2017, he sparked a major controversy by hosting a beef party on the lawns of the MLA hostel in Srinagar and said, “No court or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want.” He was assaulted by BJP MLAs inside the assembly the next day.

 

According to the FIR by the NIA, the case against Rashid was registered for raising, receiving and collecting funds through illegal means to fund separatist and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir and for causing disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on the security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.

 

His name cropped up during the interrogation of businessman and co-accused Zahoor Watali.

 

Later, Rashid’s bail application was rejected by a special court in Delhi, stating that the accused received unaccounted funds from Watali against whom there had already been reasonable grounds for a prima facie case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.–(CNI)


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