SRINAGAR: A Division Bench of Supreme Court of India today ordered that the final hearing of the case shall be held on 29th November, 2013.
The bench comprising Justices B.S. Chauhan & S.A. Bobde heard the arguments of Prof. Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate for the petitioner MLA Balwant Singh and Ishaq Qadri, Advocate-General of J&K. Petitioner is seeking investigation by CBI into the custodial death of NC functionary Haji Yousuf soon after he fell ill in CMs Srinagar residence.
Prof. Bhim Singh, submitted the Supreme Court that Haji Yousuf, a renowned and prosperous businessman closely associated with the ruling National Conference was summoned by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to his residence on 29th September, 2011 following a complaint by another National Conference worker that Mr. Yousuf had collected Rs.84 lacs for an MLC seat.
Another NC worker had complained that he had paid Rs.34 lacs. Prof. Bhim Singh informed the court that the Chief Minister detained Haji Yousuf in his house for over two hours in the evening and then directed IG Police to arrest him.
The IG Police took Haji Yousuf to a police station. Haji Yousuf was declared dead on the 30th September, 2011. He said that the relatives were not informed about the arrest and death of Haji Yousuf.
Prof. Bhim Singh submitted that the police registered FIR against Haji Yousuf three days after his death whereas no FIR has been registered in connection with the custodial death of Haji Yousuf. He said that the Supreme Court had issued notice to the State Govt. on this petition on 30th October, 2011 whereas this notice was served on the State on 9th November, 2011. Prof. Bhim Singh said that the Govt. of J&K in order to dilute the orders of this court appointed a retired Judge of the Supreme Court on 18th November, 2011 instead of implementing the Supreme Court order.
Prof. Bhim Singh cited a judgment of the Supreme Court in Gujarat case where the Supreme Court had directed the Govt. of Gujarat to hand over the investigation of the case to the CBI in the public interest. Prof. Bhim Singh said that the custodial death of Haji Yousuf amounted to murder and an FIR u/s. 302 R.P.C. should have been registered without any delay. Appointment of a Commission of Inquiry was a move to divert the attention of the media and the public from the real issues. Prof. Bhim Singh also filed an affidavit on behalf of Mr. Talib Hussain, son of the Late Haji Yousuf who had clearly stated that the police did not inform any member of the family about the arrest of his father nor the family members or a member were informed about his death in custody. He said in his affidavit that the complaint filed by him in the police was thrown into the dustbin regarding death of his father. He had stated that he and his family members were informed about the custodial death of Haji Yousuf in the evening of 30th September, 2011 in police station. He had made it expressly clear that his father was murdered and the Chief Minister was directly responsible for that. He said in his affidavit that they have no faith in the investigation by police working under the Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah. The affidavit has sought an independent inquiry in the interest of justice so that the culprits could be brought to justice.
Prof. Bhim Singh also informed the court that it has been working as police state for several decades. He said that he himself has been victim of the wrath of the State Govt. He said that he was kept in prison for years by the Govt. of J&K even when he was a serving MLA in J&K Assembly. He expressed gratitude to the Apex Court of India which has ushered an era of justice and equity in J&K. He said that this is a tragedy that an FIR was not allowed to be filed under the instructions of the Chief Minister when a noted ruling party businessman died in custody after he was sent to police station on the orders of the Chief Minister.
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