Justice Bedi gives clean chit to CM

‘Syed Yousuf Died Due To Cardiac Arrest’

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Dec 22: Giving a clean chit to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the one -man Commission of Inquiry(CoI) headed by Justice H S Bedi has concluded that National Conference worker, Syed Muhammad Yousuf, had died due to cardiac arrest last year. However, two officials of Crime Branch have been found guilty of failing to discharge their duties as they did not inform the family of the deceased about his arrest.
The Commission was constituted last year after the opposition parties trained guns at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over Syed Yousuf’s death and accused him (Omar) of being involved in it. The Commission in its report, however, has ruled out any foul play and has exonerated the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
“On a cumulative assessment of the evidence on record it has been found that the death of Haji Syed Muhammad Yousuf was caused by myocardial infarction which as Dr Noor says would mean a heart attack and that no suspicious circumstances can be spelt out,” reads the abstract findings of the report that were released by  the State Government on Saturday afternoon here.
Bedi submitted the 96-page report to State Law Secretary Ghulam Hassan Tantray this morning at State Guest House in Jammu.  Bedi had conducted proceedings in the case for over more than a year after he was assigned with the task by the State Government.
The CoI findings also held the then Inspector General of Police, Crime Branch Raja Ejaz Ali and Dr Kuchay, Medical Officer of Police Hospital cannot be blamed for any lapse. “The evidence also reveals that the deceased had received proper treatment in the hospital and Dr Kuchay had done his duty as per the needs of the patient. No lapse, therefore, can be attributed to either Raja Aijaz Ali or Dr Kuchay.”
“I am, therefore, of the opinion that the deceased had been in fact arrested on September 29, 2011 from the CM’s Camp Office ” by the IGP Raja Ajaz Ali and in any event after the registration of FIR No. 17/2011 at 10.00 p.m,” the report further reads.
But the Commission found that two officials of Crime Branch wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police - DSP Bashir Ahmad Ganie and Munshi Nazir Ahmed- were lax in discharging their duties. Both the officials have been blamed for failing to inform Yousuf’s family about his arrest.
“The DSP has, however, admitted in his evidence that he had not himself conveyed the information about the arrest and detention of the deceased to his associates/relatives but had passed on this duty to Munshi Nazir Ahmad,” the report reads: “DSP, Bashir Ahmad Ganai and Munshi, Nazir Ahmad who appeared as OW2 and OW10 respectively, are, therefore, held liable of having failed to discharge their duty as per law.”
The Commission has held the officials responsible for negligence in light of a ruling by the Supreme Court that makes mandatory for the police to inform friend / relative of an arrestee about his/ her detention.
In D K Basu Vs State of West Bengal, the Apex Court has laid guidelines for police while making arrests. Following the ruling, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had passed directions to all the States including JK to follow these guidelines in letter and spirit.

REPORT TO BE PLACED BEFORE CABINET
Meanwhile, the report will be studied by Law Department and then it would be placed before the State Cabinet for necessary action.
“The report will be placed before the Cabinet for further action on the matter," official sources said.
The CM said that he had asked the (Law Department) to study the findings of inquiry before sharing it with him.
“Justice Bedi has submitted his inquiry report to the State Law secretary. Have asked for the findings to be studied before sharing with me,” Omar tweeted on micro- blogging website Twitter.

BACKGROUND
Haji Yousuf was handed over to Crime Branch by Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah on September 29, 2011 after he allegedly admitted that he had taken money from two NC workers for getting them berths in the Legislative Council and the state council of ministers. He died mysteriously in custody of Crime Branch while Yousuf’s family alleged that he was tortured to death.
Following the opposition parties taking on CM, the State Government appointed Justice Bedi to probe the death even as magisterial inquiry exonerated CM of all the allegations leveled by Yousuf’s family and opposition.
The Commission was appointed by the State Government vide Notification SRO 340 dated 18th November, 2011 and the term of the commission was extended from time to time up to December 28, 2012. The Commission held its hearings on 22 days and 17 persons had filed affidavits before it. In addition, 11 persons filed additional affidavits.
During proceedings of the Commission senior Supreme Court lawyer Gaurav Pachnanda and Additional Advocate General M A Chashoo represented Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while senior Additional Advocate General A M Magray represented the State, while  F A Kathwari defended Crime Branch and M A Dar represented family of the deceased.

FAMILY REJECTS REPORT, NC WELCOMES; PDP AGHAST
Rejecting the findings of Bedi Commission, the family of Syed Haji Yosuf on Saturday said that they would approach Supreme Court to get justice.
“This Commission was just eyewash and we have been telling the same from the first day. We did not have any faith in it,” Yosuf’s son Syed Talib Hussain told Greater Kashmir.
“We did not have even an iota of trust on the panel and so we also did not file an affidavit before it,” he added.
Talib said they would shortly approach the Supreme Court to challenge Bedi Commission’s report  and to seek registration of a case against the State Government for the murder.
“The Commission was a mockery of justice as the person (CM) against whom allegations were leveled never appeared before it ,”he said. “Commission was entrusted to probe the circumstances leading to the death  within six weeks, but it took sixty weeks to complete so-called probe.”
Welcoming the findings of probe, ruling National Conference on Friday said that the elements hell bent on politicizing the matter have been exposed before masses.
“This report should serve an eye-opener to those who are in habit of politicizing every matter for their vested motives,” the senior NC leader and Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar told Greater Kashmir.
“Our stand has been vindicated and now everybody can judge who is speaking truth and who is making false claims,” he said and added that the stand of Chief Minister has been vindicated by the outcome of probe.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, however, rejected the findings. “This probe has not added to the credibility of accountability process in the State. It is now established beyond doubt that there are there are two sets of laws applied in the State. A 10-year old boy carrying a stone in his hand is charged with an attempt to murder and waging war against the State. Influential can get away with anything,” the PDP Chief Spokesman Naeem Akther said.
He said that even the Chief Minister himself acknowledged that Syed Yousuf had been called to his residence to sort out matters regards an illegal transaction for fixing mandates and berth in the cabinet.
“It is an irony that even an FIR has not been lodged for the death in suspicious circumstances but we now have a verdict from a former judge of the SC, who has covered himself with glory in this brazen cover-up of a cover- up .One wonders why it took him more than  one year of state hospitality and perks to say what everybody in JK always believed he would say .The institutions have unfortunately once again been undermined,” Akther said.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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