‘Yusuf used mimicry artiste for Abdullah`s voice’

In a new twist to Haji Yusuf death case, a mimic artiste has claimed that the deceased used to pay him to mimick the voice of Farooq Abdullah.

Srinagar: In a new twist to Haji Yusuf death
case, a mimic artiste has claimed in his confessional
statement that the deceased used to pay him Rs 2,000 for
mimicking the voice of Union Minister Farooq Abdullah to win
the trust of people who allegedly gave money in return for
getting a ministerial portfolio or any other government job.

Jammu and Kashmir Police had put Aizaz Malik, a 24-year-
old youth from South Kashmir, on scanner after the cell phone
record of Syed Mohammed Yusuf Shah alias Haji Yusuf showed
that the two were in touch on regular basis, official sources
said here on Sunday.

After questioning, Aizaz decided to record the
confessional statement before a Magistrate in South Kashmir
during which he said that he had been mimicking many
politicians especially Farooq Abdullah allegedly at the
insistence of Haji Yusuf.

In his two-page confessional statement, recorded under
section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code, the youth claimed that
Yusuf used to pay him an amount of Rs 2,000 for doing such a
mimicry over phone which used to help him in convincing people
who had paid him for getting a ministerial berth or nomination
to Legislative Council or any other governmental work done.

His mimicry act was also recorded by the court which forms
a part of the evidence, the sources said, adding that he had
been receiving threats from some groups against deposing
before the court.

Another person, who happens to be an eyewitness in the
case, Mohammed Yuusf Bhat of Ganderbal had also recorded his
confessional statement before Chief Judicial Magistrate
(Ganderbal) Javed Alam.

Bhat, a resident of Ganderbal, 30 km from here, was among
the three present at the residence of Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah on September 29 where Haji Yusuf was handed over to
Crime Branch after he admitted to have duped him and another
person Salam Reshi taking money running into more than Rs one
crore against a promise of a ministerial berth or membership
in the Legislative Council.

In his statement, Bhat, who has kept himself away from the
media glare ever since the mysterious death of Haji Yusuf
allegedly during police custody, recalled that he had gone to
Jammu where he met the deceased.

"I had gone to Jammu in February this year where I met
Haji Yusuf and he asked me the reason for my visit. I told him
that Legislative Council elections are being held and I am
also desirous of becoming an MLC," Bhat said in his four-page
confessional statement, also recorded under section 164 of

Bhat claimed that Haji Yusuf told him that he would have
to make a payment of around Rs 70 lakh for the same which
would be counted as party fund.

The eyewitness gave a detailed account of names of his
relatives from whom he had borrowed Rs 70 lakh to give it to
Haji Yusuf. "In June, Haji Yusuf raised a fresh demand of Rs
15 lakh which again I borrowed from my relative Manzoor
Ahmed," he said.

Bhat said that in July he had started demanding his money
back from Haji Yusuf as his work had not been done and the
deceased started avoiding him.

"One day when I visited his home along with my relation
Manzoor Ahmed and demanded my money. He (Haji Yusuf) picked up
his phone and told me that he was talking to Dr Farooq
Abdullah and also kept the speaker phone on. He told the
person on the other side of the phone that Yusuf Ganderbali
has come here and is asking why his work was not done. The
person on the other side told the deceased that the work would
be done and I should wait.

"However, Manzoor Ahmed (Bhat`s relative) told the Yusuf
Shah (deceased) that the voice on the other side was not that
of Farooq Abdullah," he said, adding, tempers flared up after
that and the deceased threatened him with dire consequences.

"I went and told the entire story to Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah and he asked me to come to the residence at 3.30
PM.... When I reached the residence, I saw Salam Reshi also
sitting there. After one hour, Haji Yusuf also came there,"
Bhat said.

Ten minutes later the Chief Minister accompanied by
Minister of State (Home) Nasir Sogami also came and Salam
Reshi said that Haji Yusuf had also taken an amount of Rs 34
lakh from him out of which he had returned later Rs 30 lakh
while Rs four lakh were still pending, he said.

After hearing the allegation, Omar expressed his
displeasure and Haji Yusuf, in presence of Nasir, admitted to
taking the money to which the Chief Minister said that crime
had taken place and needs to be investigated, he said, adding
the Chief Minister returned to his residence.

"Ten minutes later Inspector General, Crime, Raja Aizaz
and Political Advisor to the Chief Minister Davinder Rana
entered the office.... I repeated the story before the IG who
asked all three of us to accompany him to Crime Branch HQ.
Later all three of us left the place safe and sound with the
IG. Nobody had neither beaten Haji Yusuf nor was there any
altercation," he said.

Haji Yusuf complained of stomach pain in police vehicle
and after reaching the Crime Branch Headquarters the deceased
went to bathroom and was later taken to a doctor.

"Haji Yusuf was not touched by anyone either at CM
residence or at Crime Branch HQ," he said, adding next day he
came to know that Yusuf was no more.

A case under section 420 (cheating) and section 405
(criminal breach of trust) of IPC has been registered against
Haji Yusuf, who died due to a massive heart failure on
September 30 prompting the Chief Minister to announce a
judicial probe.

The state government has requested the Union Law Ministry
to appoint a panel of three retired Supreme Court judges to
probe the incident after Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir
High Court refused to provide the services of a sitting HC
Judge citing shortage of judges.


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