PDP trying to influence eye-witnesses, says Omar


Srinagar : Asserting he had done nothing wrong, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of trying to influence the eye-witnesses of the death of National Conference worker Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf.

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“Yousuf was a crook and I dealt with him transparently,” Omar Abdullah told news channel NDTV, but added “nobody even touched Yousuf with a finger” while he was at the chief minister’s residence.

He also said Yousuf died of a heart attack 12 hours after visiting his residence.

Accusing the PDP led by former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed of trying to influence the eye-witnesses to make them speak against the NC and its leaders, Omar Abdullah denied the PDP allegations that Yousuf was very close to the chief minister and his father, former chief minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

“Yousuf was only as close to our family as any other NC worker.”

Yousuf had been summoned to the chief minister’s residence here Sep 29 along with two other NC workers, Abdul Salam Rishi of Akingam (Kokernag) and Muhammad Yusuf Bhat of Ganderbal, who alleged Sayeed had taken Rs.1.18 crore from them for getting one a minister’s berth and the other a legislator’s seat.

Rishi has raked up a huge controversy by his disclosures that Yousuf had been taken to a room at the chief minister’s residence for nearly half an hour, after which he came out but was “visibly unwell”.

Rishi also told media that Yousuf had told the chief minister that the amount he had taken from Bhat (Rs.85 lakh) had been given by him to Farooq Abdullah.

The chief minister, however, admitted that Rishi had informed him about two months back that he had paid money to Yousuf.

“It is only human… It slipped off my mind. I forgot to take immediate action.”

“I am not losing sleep and have no regrets for handling the situation the way I did,” Omar maintained.

The chief minister said he was eager for the judicial probe to start quickly so that the truth is brought to light.

The state government has requested the chief justice of the state high court to spare a sitting judge to probe Yousuf’s death.

The chief minister also denied the incident had any connection with the transfer of some police officers detailed on his security on the day he summoned the three NC workers to his residence.

“Their transfers were routine,” Omar asserted.

Meanwhile, refuting the allegations that the PDP was in close touch with the eye-witnesses to influence them, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti criticised both New Delhi and the state government.

“New Delhi has double standards. He (Omar) seems to get away with it. He has acted with highhandedness and now puts the blame on PDP,” she said here.

“As if Mehbooba Mufti did something to the person and he died,” she said.