Was Threatened Against Deposing: Mimicker20 November 2011
Srinagar: A witness in the death of National Conference worker Syed Muhammed Yousuf Shah has claimed before a magistrate that he was threatened by “two youths” to not depose against the deceased and remain silent. Aizaz Ahmed Bhat, who recorded his confessional statement before a judge in Tral in South Kashmir, was allegedly used by the 61-year-old deceased, also known as Haji Yousuf, for mimicking the voice of politicians including Union Minister Farooq Abdullah. Bhat, while stating his association with Haji Yousuf especially his exploitation for mimicking the voice of Abdullah for a sum of Rs 2000, said that two youths had come to his home in Pulwama after the death of Yousuf and warned him against disclosing anything about his association with the deceased. In his three-page confessional statement, 24-year-old Bhat said that he had informed the Superintendent of Police (Awantipura) about the incident as well. About his relation with the deceased, Bhat said that he had met him last year in Civil Secretariat and after which Haji had promised him work in Bollywood. “Haji Yousuf asked me to pay Rs 2 lakh for job in Kashmir or Rs 1 lakh for a job in Delhi. I managed Rs 50,000 and handed over the same in Jammu. After this he (Haji Yousuf) used to call me only for mimicking the voice of Dr Farooq Abdullah,” he said. Bhat said the deceased used to turn deaf ear whenever he asked him about his job. The break in relations between Bhat and Haji Yousuf came barely days before the latter’s death when the mimicry artist confronted him about the money and the deceased told him that he had just met Abdullah and something would be done very soon. “To my surprise I found Dr Abdullah had not visited the state for last eight days. I confronted him over phone and he promised me to solve my issue at the earliest,” Bhat said. Yousuf was arrested for allegedly duping people of money promising them government jobs, MLC seats and ministerial berths, citing his proximity with top NC leadership on September 28. He died the next day during his custody with the crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police. Bhat came under the scanner after the cell phone record of Yousuf showed that the two were in touch on regular basis, official sources said here. He claimed that Yousuf used him for doing such mimicry over phone which helped him in convincing people for getting a ministerial berth or nomination to Legislative Council or any other governmental work done. Haji Yousuf’s death snowballed into a political controversy after he was summoned by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on September 28 to ascertain whether he was taking money from people on the pretext of getting them ministerial berths. He along with two others - Salam Reshi and Muhammed Yousuf Bhat - was arrested from the Chief Minister’s residence on September 28. Haji Yousuf died the following day and post-mortem reports suggested that he had suffered a massive cardio-respiratory failure. Jammu and Kashmir Government recently appointed a one-member Commission under retired Supreme Court judge H S Bedi to probe the circumstances leading to death of Yousuf. The name of 65-year-old Justice Bedi was proposed by the Union Law Ministry to the state government which accepted it. The Commission will probe the entire circumstances leading to the death of Yousuf during his custody with Crime Branch on September 29 and is slated to complete its report with six weeks. BEDI COMMISSION TO BEGIN WORK NEXT WEEK The one-member Justice H S Bedi Commission is likely to begin its probe into the death of Haji Yousuf next week, officials said here today. 'The notification for appointment of Justice Bedi Commission was issued last week and he is likely to begin the probe next week,' secretary to Jammu and Kashmir government's Law Department, G H Tantray said. The state government had on Friday appointed retired Supreme Court judge Bedi, as the one-member Commission to probe the custodial death of Yousuf on September 29. The Commission has been asked to complete its probe within six weeks. The name of 65-year-old Bedi, who is also a former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, was proposed by the Union Law Ministry to the state government in September. The Commission will probe the circumstances leading to the death of 61-year-old Yousuf during his custody with Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police. A simultaneous probe into the alleged criminal activity of the deceased will continue with the crime branch, the officials said.