Commission begins probe into NC worker’s death

Srinagar : A one-man commission headed by Justice (retd) H.S. Bedi started its probe here Tuesday into the custodial death of National Conference (NC) worker Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf two months ago.

Government sources told IANS that the retired Supreme Court judge reached here Monday afternoon. “The one-man commission of inquiry probing the death of Yousuf started its work in summer capital Srinagar today (Tuesday),” a source said.

Justice Bedi was nominated by the union law ministry on the request of the Jammu and Kashmir government to probe the death of the NC worker who died here Sep 30.

According to sources, the commission has sought CCTV footage and other records from the state police crime branch. Investigation details like daily diaries of the investigating officer have also been sought.

The commission is likely to issue notice to people who could throw light on the circumstances under which Yousuf died or anybody else the commission deems fit to be summoned, they added.

Although the post-mortem examination and forensic reports confirmed that Yousuf died due to cardiac arrest, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah promised to have the death probed by a serving judge of the state high court.

After the request was turned down by the high court because of the apex court decision against sparing serving judges for probes, the state government approached the union law ministry to nominate a retired judge who could probe the death.

The commission has been asked to complete its probe in six weeks.

It has established its office at the civil secretariat in Srinagar. Sources said the services of a liaison officer would be put at the commission’s disposal.

After allegations of cash for political berths against Yousuf by another NC worker, Muhammad Yusuf Bhat, the chief minister had Sep 29 summoned them to his residence, from where both were taken into custody by the state crime branch.

Yousuf died while in custody of the state crime branch Sep 30, leading to protests and allegations by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP said that as the death occurred in the wake of Yousuf being summoned to the chief minister’s residence, an impartial judicial probe should be carried out to establish the reasons for his death.

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