Apex court notice to centre, Kashmir over custody death


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central and Jammu and Kashmir governments on a petition seeking Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death in custody of National Congress (NC) worker Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf.

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The notice is returnable in two weeks. Petitioner state legislator Balwant Singh of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) has sought direction to the state government to hand over the investigation to the CBI.

An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar issued the notice after senior counsel Bhim Singh told the court that the death of the NC activist took place under mysterious circumstances while in police custody.

Yousuf’s death Sep 30 kicked up a political storm in Jammu and Kashmir as he died in police custody a day after he visited Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s house. The autopsy report showed he died of cardiac arrest, Omar said.

Before issuing the notice, the court asked Bhim Singh that doctors had certified that the death was caused due to heart attack. The court asked if this warranted the registration of first information report (FIR).

Bhim Singh, who heads JKNPP, referred to an earlier judgment of the apex court wherein guidelines were framed for probing deaths under mysterious circumstances in police custody.

He pressed for probe in Yousuf’s death by an independent agency. The petitioner alleged that Yousuf was arrested at the instance of the chief minister Sep 29.