Yousuf Death Row: Magisterial Probe Exonerates Omar, Aides

Yousuf Death Row: Magisterial Probe Exonerates Omar, Aides

29 April 2012
Rising Kashmir
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: The magisterial probe, ordered into the death of National Conference worker Haji Syed Yousuf, has concluded that he died a natural death and that nobody was responsible for it, thereby exonerating Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and his aides of all the charges in the case. The government had ordered magisterial inquiry in Yousuf’s death on September 30 last year under Section 176 CrPC and Additional Deputy Commissioner, Muhammad Akbar Ganaie was appointed inquiry officer. In his final 41-page inquiry report submitted to the government on February 2, 2012, which has also been accessed by Rising Kashmir, Ganie has concluded that Yousuf of Loktipora Bijbehara died due to cardiovascular arrest without any external physical assault or injury. “As I am required to determine the cause of death of the deceased after examining 57 witnesses and making physical examination of hospital, crime branch, as well as CM’s camp office in Srinagar, I have come to the conclusion that Yousuf died due to cardiovascular arrest without any external-physical assault, force, injury or mischief upon his body or due to negligence of any authority,” the magistrate says in his findings on page 41 of the report. “As such the cause of his death on 30-09-2011 at about 9:45 am in police hospital Srinagar is a natural death due to heart attack and not an act of any other person from CM’s camp office or Crime Branch headquarters or from Police Hospital,” magistrate Ganaie said, adding that his findings are supported by post mortem report and other medical reports including oral-documentary evidences available with him. “These conclude positively to the fact that the deceased died due to Myocardial Infarction (heart attack).” Exonerating the chief minister of any role in Yousuf’s death, the report states, “Any kind of misbehaviour-torture is a distant dream, as during the stay at Honourable Chief Minister’s (HCM’S) camp office, the deceased was not alone for a single minute and during that time the CM was having various engagements with different persons from BBC crew to head of civil society.” “They would have found some foul as the meeting hall (where the CM met Yousuf) is a small one and has adjoining waiting room where other persons wait for their turn to meet the CM. Besides, the hall and the waiting room have common entrance through verandah.” After analysing the video footage of CM’s camp office and examination of statements, including that of Omar Abdullah, the magistrate says that the deceased was with CM for a brief period. “It is relevant that the CM was with the deceased for just ten minutes in the presence of Muhammad Yousuf Bhat and Abdul Salam Reshi as well as Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani in a hall when there were security personnel and private persons around whose statements were recorded, but none of them has deposed about any overt or physical assault on the body of the deceased during the time he was with Omar Abdullah,” the magistrate said. The report reveals that Yousuf arrived at CM’s camp office 4.56 pm along with MoS Home. However, the report does not say anything about where he was before entering CM’s camp office. It further adds that the CCTV footage analysis and the statements of witnesses indicated that Yousuf was taken to Crime Branch Headquarters by IG Crime from CM’s office at around 6.11pm on September 29, 2011. About Yousuf’s stay at Crime Branch and Police hospital, the probe report says, “It can be safely said there was no medical negligence as he was given all possible treatment and his death cannot be attributed to any negligence or lapse.” “At the police hospital on the morning of September 30, the deceased was even walking as he was normal. Thus, the allegations levelled in the media about the death of deceased are not based on facts but just imagination,” the magistrate claims on page 40 of his report. The report also mentions the turn of events before Yousuf’s death. All the three- Reshi, Bhat and Syed Yousuf had a meeting at the residence of Chief Minister on September 29, 2011 at around 5 pm. The CM had enquired about two transactions from Reshi and Bhat. Reshi had informed CM that only a small amount is left with Syed Yousuf. However, Bhat had said he had given Rs 84 lakhs to Yousuf, which the later had not given back. “To this Yousuf has confessed to CM that he has received the amount from Bhat but has not been able to pay him back till date. This has come perhaps as a surprise to CM and accordingly he has directed Yousuf to pay back the amount within shortest time possible or otherwise the CM said he will send this case to Crime Branch,” the report reveals. It adds that Yousuf informed the CM that it is not possible for him to arrange the huge amount on short notice and that he needs some more time, which was not accepted by CM. “At this point CM directed MoS Home to have the matter verified by Crime Branch who in turn called on IGP Crime to enquire the matter and take action as per law. Accordingly, IGP Crime took away not only Yousuf with him but the other two also to Crime branch Headquarters,” the magistrate report says. Among the 57 witnesses examined by the magistrate included Chief Minister, MoS Home and CM’s political advisor Davinder Rana. The report is, however, silent as to on whose behest Yousuf received money or where the money has gone.