‘Sobhraj of J&K’ joins PDP, Mehbooba ‘not aware’

15 March 2008
The Indian Express
Express News Service

Srinagar: Top leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) — president Mehbooba Mufti, Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Finance Minister Tariq Hameed Karra — on Saturday welcomed a new leader into party fold Mujeeb Siddique, also called “Charles Sobhraj” of Kashmir. Ironically, the PDP rally where he joined the party was held at Bemina Bypass in the jurisdiction of the Parimpora police station. He has to seek the Station House Officer’s permission whenever he goes out of the jurisdiction of this police station. Siddique has seven cases filed against him across the state. Mehbooba feigned ignorance. “I am not aware of it. Siddique had joined much earlier but his arrival was announced today. I will enquire from the Finance Minister,” she said. Karra didn’t offer any comment. Siddique had been absconding from Kashmir after he fled to Delhi and UP. The police had sought help of the Delhi and UP police to trace him, but in vain. However, once the police pressure subsided, he returned after securing a bail. As Kashmir gears up for the Assembly polls, political parties are desperately opening up their ranks for politicians with a discredited and tainted past. For the first time after the exposure of the sex scandal, the Congress reintroduced its former minister and legislator GA Mir at a rally. Mir was involved in the scandal and is out on bail. Who is Mujeeb Siddique? Mujeeb is the son of a Srinagar businessman, Nazir Siddique, who was a Government-militant liaison in the early 1990s. Nazir was killed by militants along with his wife at their home in Qamarwari, Srinagar city. Mujeeb’s notorious activities first surfaced in 1997 when he impersonated as a Public Relations Officer of the J-K Home Minister and cheated an electronics showroom in the city. Having studied at a well-known private school in Dehradun, he speaks fluent English. He also masqueraded as the personal staff member of National Conference president and former Union minister Omar Abdullah, duping a shopkeeper of a laptop and other computer appliances. He was dubbed “Charles Sobhraj” of Kashmir when he took the entire J-K Police and its security grid for a ride in Jammu where he impersonated as the nephew of the then President of India. He had called the police top brass and ensured a detailed security for himself as well as a stay in a big hotel at Government expense.