Bedi Commission rejects plea for Chief Minister’s cross-examination
D A RASHID
Srinagar, Apr 27: The judicial commission, set up to probe the custodial death of a ruling National Conference worker in September last year, Friday rejected a plea for summoning Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his aides as witnesses in the case.
The counsel for the family of the deceased Syed Muhammad Yousuf Shah alias Haji Yousuf had submitted a list of 14 witnesses, including the Chief Minister, his political advisor Devender Rana and Minister of State (MoS) Home Nasir Aslam Wani to be summoned for cross-examination.
The other witnesses whose presence was sought by the counsel included then IGP Crime Branch, Raja Ajaz Ali, Dy SP CB Bashir Ahmad Ganaie, S P CB, Abdul Gaffar Malik, Dr Fareed Noor HoD Forensic Medicine GMC Srinagar, Muzaffar Ahmad Khan, SHO Police Station Batamaloo, Dr Irshad Ahmad Kuchay Medical officer (Surgeon specialist), Dr Nadeem Nazir Medical Superintendent Police Hospital and Ghulam Hassan Bhat, Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police.
Justice (Retd) H S Bedi rejected the plea for summoning Omar, Wani, Rana and the CM's private secretary Asgar Hussain. The Chief Minister was represented before the Bedi Commission by Senior Counsel, Gaurav Pachnanda, the state was represented by Senior Additional Advocate General, A M Magray while the family of the deceased Haji Yousuf was defended by Mushtaq Ahmad Dar. The Commission said the CM and his aides had filed affidavits and cross-examination was not required, Advocate Farooq Kathwari, representing the police officers named as witnesses, said.
However, Justice Bedi allowed summoning of 10 witnesses, including the then IGP Crime Raja Ajaz Ali and the doctor who had conducted Yousuf's postmortem.
While passing order on the other application filed by the counsel of the family of deceased Haji Yousuf seeking summoning of Burkha Datt of NDTV and Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Datta of Times Now who had had interviewed Salam Reshi, the commission held that the prayer is premature and they could be summoned in case need arises.
The commission has slated the next hearing on May 19.
The state government had on November 18 appointed the retired Supreme Court judge as the head of a one-man Commission to probe the death of 61-year-old Haji Yousuf in police custody.
Yousuf was handed over to the IG, Crime Branch, by the Chief Minister on September 29 last year after he allegedly admitted to taking money from two National Conference workers for getting them berths in the legislative council and the state council of ministers.
He died a day later. While Yusuf’s family alleged he was tortured to death, an autopsy showed that Haji Yousuf died of cardiac arrest.
The Commission was asked to complete its probe within six weeks but due to 'unavoidable circumstances', including pendency of a petition relating to the matter before the Supreme Court and adverse weather condition, the state government granted a three-month extension on January 7.
WITH INPUTS FROM AGENCIES
Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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