Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Haji Yousaf death case

Govt resists cross-examination of CM, MoS Home, 
other witnesses

The State Government has resisted the cross-examination of all the witnesses including the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Devinder Singh Rana and other ‘key’ witnesses in the much publicized death of National Conference worker Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah alias Haji Yousaf.

Authoritative sources told Jk News that some days back Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, the counsel for the deceased’s family, moved an application before Justice H S Bedi Commission seeking permission to cross-examine all the witnesses in the Haji Yousaf murder case.

Accordingly, the Comm-ission invited objections from the State Government in response to the application of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar and the same were submitted yesterday in which the Government has resisted the cross-examination of all the witnesses on various grounds, sources said.

The Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, Devinder Singh Rana, Inspector General of Police (Crime Branch), Dr Noor, who had conducted the post-mortem of Haji Yousaf, are among 12 persons, who have been arrayed as witnesses in the much publicized case, sources disclosed.

They said that Commission has adjourned the proceedings in the case till April 27 as the counsel for the Chief Minister has pleaded his inability to appear before April 21 due to some prior engagements. 

"On April 27, there will be arguments on the application of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar seeking cross-examination of the witnesses and affidavit of the Government resisting the same", sources said, adding "it would be only after hearing the arguments from both the sides that the Commission will take any decision on this vital aspect of the case and initiate further proceedings".

In response to a question, sources said, "as per law, opportunity of cross-examination of the witnesses cannot be denied to the counsel of the aggrieved party. However, before allowing the same the Commission will have to decide as to who are the relevant witnesses, whose cross-examination would be of considerable help in the case".

"The application seeking cross-examination of all the witnesses in the case was moved by the counsel of Haji Yousaf’s family after visiting the residence of Chief Minister where Yousaf was summoned on September 28, 2011, a day prior to his death allegedly under mysterious circumstances", sources further said.

Replying to another question, they said, "it would be only after the decision on the cross-examination of the witnesses that the Commission would be in a position to decide whether it can complete its task within the latest deadline fixed by the Government on its request", adding "at present the Commission has time till May 28 to complete the probe and submit report".

It is pertinent to mention here that Haji Yousaf was handed over to IG Crime Branch by the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah on September 29 last year after he (Haji Yousaf) allegedly admitted to taking money from two NC workers for getting them favours from the Government.

He died a day later and the medical tests so far have revealed that he died of cardiac arrest and that there were no external injuries on his body. His death after he was summoned by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on September 28, 2011 to ascertain whether he was taking money from people on the pretext of getting them Ministerial berths, snowballed into a political controversy with top leadership of NC being directly accused by the Opposition parties in the State.

After Haji Yusuf’s death, the Chief Minister ordered a judicial probe by a sitting J&K High Court Judge. However, after Chief Justice of State High Court expressed his inability to spare a sitting judge, the Government wrote to the Union Law Ministry to provide panel of three retired Supreme Court Judges.

Accordingly, the Union Law Ministry proposed the name of Justice H S Bedi, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, and subsequently a Commission of Enquiry was appointed by the State Government in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 3 of Jammu and Kashmir Commission of Enquiry Act, 1962 to enquire into the causes and circumstances leading to the death of Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah, son of Sayed Ghulam Ahmed of Loktipora, Bijbehara in Anantnag district

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