Govt orders judicial probe into custodial killing30 September 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The State Government today ordered a judicial probe into the death in police custody of a man called in for questioning along with two others in connection with allegations of corruption against a police officer in Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s personal security. An official spokesman said here that the Government has requested the Chief Justice of the State High Court to nominate a sitting judge of the High Court to conduct a judicial enquiry into the immediate circumstances leading to the death of Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf Shah. In the meantime, Personal Security Officer of Chief Minister, DySP Shabir Ahmad was transferred to South Kashmir’s Kulgam district immediately after the complaint against him was received. And two more police officers in his security DySP Nasir Khan and ASI, S P Singh were also transferred. However, police officials said these were routine transfers. Reports said three people, Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah, a land dealer belonging to South Kashmir’s Bijbehara, Abdul Salam and Mohammad Yusuf Bhat, block president of the ruling National Conference from Ganderbal district, were called for questioning by the Crime Branch after complaints about the alleged corrupt practices of DySP Shabir Ahmad, PSO of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Police said Syed Mohammad Yusuf complained of some complication and he was immediately taken to the hospital where he died. Shah’s relatives staged a protest in the Press Colony here in Srinagar today demanding arrest of those responsible for his death. They alleged he had been killed in police custody. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) demanded that Omar Abdullah and Minister of State for Home and Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani should step aside till the inquiry is completed. 'There were slogans on the streets that Omar Abdullah and Nasir Aslam Wani were killers. We are prejudging their culpability but Caesar cannot be Caesar while he is being judged,' PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig told reporters in a press conference here. Beig said the son of the deceased, Talib Yousuf, has told his party that his father was called by Wani to Srinagar yesterday and he was able to talk to his father on phone once or twice till 6.30 pm. 'Next morning he was informed that his father is dead,' Beig said. He alleged that it was unfortunate that this Government has crossed all limits in human rights violations. 'The needle of suspicion to high and mighty,' he said. He said the three persons called by Wani to his residence and later reportedly taken to Chief Minister’s residence were all connected to National Conference and there was no militancy angle in this death. 'There have been custodial killings but generally there is an Army or police officer involved. This time the death has either taken place at CM’s residence, Wani residence or in the custody of Crime Branch. This needs to be investigated by the sitting judge of High Court,' he said. Beig said three policemen in the Chief Minister’s security including Deputy Superintendents of Police Shabir Ahmad and Nasir Khan were transferred overnight. 'Either they were witnesses (in the death),' alleged Beig. Meanwhile, a statement issued by an official spokesman said that during the Assembly session a party worker Mohammad Yousuf Bhat son of Ghulam Rasool Bhat of Rapora, Ganderbal, at present 5-A, Tulsibagh accompanied by another party worker Abdul Salam Rishi son of Gul Mohammad Rishi of Akingam, Kokernag approached the office of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in the Assembly complex with a complaint against another party worker Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf son of Sayeed Ghulam Ahmed of Loktipora, Bijbehara yesterday. The statement said that complainants were asked to report with their grievances at the Camp Office in the afternoon. The party worker Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf son of Sayeed Ghulam Ahmed of Loktipora, Bijbehara, against whom allegations were leveled, was also called at the Camp Office during the same time so as to listen to the grievances of the complainants, the statement added. The statement said that on being confronted by the complainants, Sayeed Yousuf admitted to having received an amount of ' 84 lacs from Mohammad Yousuf Bhat and ' 34 lacs from Abdul Salam Rishi with a promise to facilitate undue favours to the complainants from the Government. The statement further said that on realizing that the complaint involved allegations, IGP Crime was called and directed to verify the facts and take further necessary action under rules. 'All the three persons were asked by IGP Crime to report to Crime Police Headquarters. However, Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf reported uneasiness nauseatic and as such, he was asked to move to one of the escort vehicles of IGP Crime. Simultaneously an ambulance and doctor were also called to facilitate immediate medical examination. On reaching Crime Police Headquarters, the Medical Officer examined Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf and declared him to be all right. However, being a protected person, Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf was sent to Police Hospital Srinagar, along with the Medical officer for a detailed medical examination. Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf was given further medical treatment at Police Hospital Srinagar and kept under medical observations in the hospital itself', the statement said. The statement said that today morning, as he was complaining of slight abdomen pain, the doctors advised him to undergo an ultrasound test. 'However, before undergoing the ultra-sound test Sayeed Mohammad Yousuf suffered a massive heart attack and expired.' 'In view of the sensitivity of the matter District Magistrate, Srinagar, was requested to constitute a Board of Doctors to carry out the post-mortem under the supervision of an Executive Magistrate in the presence of the legal heirs of the deceased. The Principal Government Medical College, Srinagar, has constituted a Board of Doctors to carry out the post-mortem. This has been videographed. The dead body has been handed over to the legal heirs for burial,' it added.