Haji Yusuf`s men threatened me: Witness

Last Updated: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 19:12

Srinagar: A witness in the death of National
Conference worker Syed Mohammed Yusuf Shah has claimed before
a magistrate that he was threatened by "two youths" to not
depose against the deceased and remain silent.

Aizaz Ahmed Bhat, who recorded his confessional statement
before a judge in Tral in South Kashmir, was allegedly used by
the 61-year-old deceased, also known as Haji Yusuf, for
mimicking the voice of politicians including Union Minister
Farooq Abdullah.
Bhat, while stating his association with Haji Yusuf
especially his exploitation for mimicking the voice of
Abdullah for a sum of Rs 2000, said that two youths had come
to his home in Pulwama after the death of Yusuf and warned him
against disclosing anything about his association with the
deceased.

In his three-page confessional statement, 24-year-old
Bhat said that he had informed the Superintendent of Police
(Awantipura) about the incident as well.

About his relation with the deceased, Bhat said that he
had met him last year in Civil Secretariat and after which
Haji had promised him work in Bollywood.

"Haji Yusuf asked me to pay Rs two lakh for job in
Kashmir or Rs one lakh for a job in Delhi...I managed Rs
50,000 and handed over the same in Jammu. After this he (Haji
Yusuf) used to call me only for mimicking the voice of Dr
Farooq Abdullah," he said.

Bhat said the deceased used to turn deaf ear whenever he
asked him about his job.
The break in relations between Bhat and Haji Yusuf came
barely days before the latter`s death when the mimicry artist
confronted him about the money and the deceased told him that
he had just met Abdullah and something would be done very
soon.

"To my surprise I found Dr Abdullah had not visited the
state for last eight days. I confronted him over phone and he
promised me to solve my issue at the earliest," Bhat said.

Yusuf was arrested for allegedly duping people of money
promising them government jobs, MLC seats and ministerial
berths, citing his proximity with top NC leadership on
September 28. He died the next day during his custody with the
crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Bhat came under the scanner after the cell phone record
of Yusuf showed that the two were in touch on regular basis,
official sources said here.

He claimed that Yusuf used him for doing such a mimicry
over phone which helped him in convincing people for getting a
ministerial berth or nomination to Legislative Council or any
other governmental work done.

His death snowballed into a political controversy after
he was summoned by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on September
28 to ascertain whether he was taking money from people on the
pretext of getting them ministerial berths.

He along with two others -- Salam Reshi and Mohammed
Yusuf Bhat -- was arrested from the Chief Minister`s residence
on September 28.

Haji Yusuf died the following day and postmortem reports
suggested that he had suffered a massive cardio-respiratory
failure.

Jammu and Kashmir Government recently appointed a
one-member Commission under retired Supreme Court judge H S
Bedi to probe the circumstances leading to death of Yusuf.

The name of 65-year-old Justice Bedi was proposed by the
Union Law Ministry to the state government which accepted it.

The Commission will probe the entire circumstances
leading to the death of Yusuf during his custody with Crime
Branch on September 29 and is slated to complete its report
with six weeks.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 19:12

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