Srinagar: Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday rejected the request of the state government to spare the services of a sitting judge for probing the death National Conference worker Syed Mohammad Yousuf allegedly in police custody last month.

In a letter to the state government, Chief Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla expressed inability to spare a sitting judge as the number of judges was already inadequate and in view of the Supreme Court rulings on the matter, Advocate General Ishaq Qadri said.

Following the rejection of the request by the Chief Justice, the state government has written a letter to Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed to appoint three retired Supreme Court judges to probe the incident, Qadri said.

The state government had asked the Chief Justice to spare the services of a sitting judge to probe the circumstances leading to the death of the NC worker allegedly in police custody on September 30.

Qadri said the judges could be appointed under the Commission of Inquiries Act.

The death of Yousuf had sparked a major political row as another National Conference worker Abdul Salam Reshi had alleged the deceased had taken Rs 34 lakh from him and Rs 84 lakh from another party worker Mohammad Yousuf Bhat for getting them berths in the state legislative council.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had handed over Syed Mohammad Yousuf to the Crime Branch on September 29 after the latter had admitted to taking money from the other two party workers.

As per the official version, Yousuf complained of uneasiness and was admitted to police hospital where he suffered a heart attack the next morning and died.

The post-mortem report ruled out foul play and concluded that Yousuf died due to cardio-respiratory failure.

However, the family of the deceased alleged he was tortured in custody, leading to his death.

Talib Yousuf, son of the deceased, has filed an application before a special Anti-Corruption court, demanding a CBI probe into allegations of political corruption leveled by Reshi.