SC Notice To Centre, J And K On Yusuf Death31 October 2011
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on the alleged custodial death of National Conference worker Syed Mohammad Yusuf in Srinagar and sought a reply within two weeks. A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and SS Nijjar issued the notice on a plea seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Yusuf's mysterious death on September 29. J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah had summoned Yusuf, 61, and two other NC workers, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat and Abdul Salam Rishi, to his home for questioning on September 29. These two had alleged that Yusuf had taken a bribe of Rs1.2 crore and promised ministerial berths in return. After the meeting, Abdullah allegedly handed over the men to the crime branch. Yusuf died 12 hours later. The petition, filed by Balwant Singh Mankotia, state president of the J&K Panthers Party, says only the CBI can conduct an impartial probe into the entire chain of events leading to Yusuf’s death. The petition has alleged that Yusuf had died due to police torture at the Abdullah’s residence. The bench was initially reluctant to entertain the plea as doctors had certified that heart attack was the cause of death. However, counsel Bhim Singh, who appeared for the petitioner, insisted the matter should be probed by an independent agency as the death had occurred under mysterious circumstances. In Srinagar, Yusuf’s family, which is fighting a similar case at the anti-corruption court in the Valley, expressed hope of a fair probe. “We have always maintained that a state-level probe against a chief minister can never be impartial. The entire state machinery is functioning under him. How can they go against him?” Syed Talib Hussain, Yusuf’s son, asked. J&K’s main opposition PDP said they were looking forward to a “transparent investigation”. Recap: September 29: J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah summons Syed Mohammad Yusuf, two other NC workers, to his Srinagar residence after the two accuse Yusuf of taking money from them, promising ministerial berths. September 30: Yusuf dies in crime branch custody. October 3: Family, Opposition allege Yusuf was tortured at Abdullah’s residence. Govt cites post mortem report to says he died of cardiac arrest. October 10: J&K Panther’s Party move the Supreme Court for a CBI probe into Yusuf’s death.