Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he has "no hesitation" in presenting himself before a judicial inquiry that is to go into the death of a National Conference worker allegedly in police custody. Omar said that the allegations about his involvement in the incident were "baseless and wild". In the midst of the Opposition attack, ruling National Conference MLAs took to their feet and started shouting slogans against PDP. PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig sought to question the Speaker's rejection of the motion notice but the members of the treasury benches including several ministers rose in protest. (JPN/ Agencies)
"I have no hesitation in presenting myself before the judicial inquiry ordered into the incident," he told reporters in the state Assembly premises.
Referring to the allegations levelled by PDP President Mehbooba Mufti against him and his father Farooq Abdullah, he said, "I will not respond personally or through the media.I'm consulting my lawyers to respond in the form of defamation notice which will be taken to its logical conclusion."
Syed Mohammad Yousuf, a NC worker from south Kashmir's Anantnag district, died on September 29 allegedly in police custody after two fellow party workers had accused him of taking Rs 1.18 crore from them for getting them berths in the Legislative Council.
Rejecting the allegations of Opposition PDP, Omar said he had full faith in the judicial inquiry.
"All I will say is that I have absolute, total and complete faith in the process of judicial inquiry. I am awaiting very keenly the establishment of this commission," he said.
"I will answer whatever questions are put to me and I have no doubt that as a result of this judicial inquiry, the facts will speak for themselves and all the lies that I have been bombarded with will be shown what they are," he said.
Mehbooba Mufti has demanded resignation of the Chief Minister, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah claiming that a fair probe would not be possible if the trio continue to be in power.
Rejecting PDP allegations that he was in any way involved in the death of Yousuf, Omar said he remained silent about the incident so far as he was accused of prejudging an inquiry ordered by the government in an earlier case.
"Cautiously, I remained silent because in the previous case, where in good faith, I shared preliminary information with media, at that time, I was accused of having prejudiced an inquiry that the government had ordered," he said.
Referring to the incident, he said two NC workers came to see him last week, levelling allegations of extremely serious nature against a third worker.
"In the interest of transparency and fair play, I decided to call all the three together. I also called the Minister of State for Home to be present there, realising the criminal nature of the allegations," he said.
Omar said he immediately referred the matter to the Crime Branch of the state police and asked it to proceed in the matter on the basis of facts that it would ascertain as a result of its investigation.
"What followed after that was the death of Yousuf which was extremely unfortunate but what has been even more unfortunate than that is the way in which facts have been twisted, distorted and presented in a completely unrelated manner to the actual facts of the case," Omar said.
The Chief Minister said instead of appreciating "suo motu" action against an individual accused of corruption, accusatory fingers were being pointed towards him and his colleagues.
"It has somewhow been suggested that I or colleagues of mine are involved in criminal activity to the extent that certain supposedly responsible political leaders have gone so far as to suggest that I could be possibly involved in a case of murder," he said.
Omar said he would not have ordered a judicial inquiry by a sitting high court judge if that had been the case.
"Fact of the matter is I acted responsibly as I was expected to. While it is very easy to make assumptions and level allegations, the facts must be allowed to speak for themselves," he said.
The Chief Minister said it was beyond his comprehension as to how the political leadership and certain sections of media were levelling allegations that the deceased had been tortured in the absence of a postmortem report.
"Without recourse to the postmortem report how it is possible for either political leadership of the state or sections of media to determine that the deceased was tortured. This is beyond my comprehension," he said.
"If in any way, such allegations of torture are substantiated by either the preliminary or the final postmortem report, somebody will be held accountable for that," he said.
Omar said in the absence of the postmortem report to level such "wild and unsubstantiated" allegations against him or any of his colleagues "is unfortunate".
Promising to make the finding of the judicial inquiry public, Omar requested the media to report only facts about the case.
J&K Speaker rejects adjournment notice
The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was on Monday adjourned for the day following pandemonium after the Speaker rejected an adjournment motion notice moved by Opposition PDP demanding discussion on the death of a NC worker allegedly in police custody.
The House was adjourned thrice in a span of three hours even as Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone rejected PDP MLAs' demand that the Question Hour be suspended to discuss the alleged custodial death.
PDP members had given the adjournment motion notice seeking suspension of all business and discussion on the issue related to the death of Syed Mohammad Yousuf, a National Conference worker, under mysterious circumstances on September 30.
Even as the Speaker urged the Opposition members to allow the Question Hour to proceed, the PDP MLAs refused to budge. They raised slogans demanding revelation of the identity of those responsible for Yousuf's death.
PDP MLA Iftikhar Hussain Ansari urged the Speaker to suspend the Question Hour and allow the adjournment motion but the Speaker told him not to dictate terms.
This led to a heated argument between Lone and Ansari during which the duo levelled charges of corruption against each other.
As the commotion continued, the Speaker first adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
After the House reassembled, the Speaker rejected the adjournment motion notice saying it could hamper the judicial inquiry ordered by the state government into Yousuf's death.
"A discussion on the matter is hardly justified at this stage and can prove counter-productive as state government has requested the Chief Justice (of J and K High Court) to appoint a sitting High Court judge to probe the matter," Lone said.
When the House reassembled for a third time, the Speaker expressed regret over his remarks against Ansari and directed that they be expunged.
"I regret what happened in the beginning. I have close relations with Ansari sahib... The remarks be expunged from the records and media is requested not to carry the remarks," Lone said.
Not satisfied with the Speaker's statement, PDP members stormed the Well of the House and tore business papers, forcing another adjournment for 30 minutes.
Talking to reporters, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti alleged that the finger of suspicion was pointing at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, MoS Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah.
National Panthers Party MLA Balwant Singh Makotia demanded a CBI probe into the incident resulting in the death of Yousuf.
The J&K government had yesterday rejected the Opposition PDP's demand for resignation of the Chief Minister, saying a judicial probe has already been ordered into the incident.
The state government's response came even as the PDP decided to move the adjournment motion notice in the Assembly to discuss the situation arising out of the mysterious death of the NC worker.
The decision to move an adjournment motion was taken at a meeting of the PDP legislature party here, PDP sources had said. Syed Mohammad Yousuf, a NC worker from south Kashmir's Anantnag district, had died allegedly in police custody after two fellow party workers had accused him of taking Rs 1.18 crore from them for getting them berths in the Legislative Council.
Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather had told reporters there was no need for Omar to resign as a judicial inquiry has been ordered to probe the circumstances leading to Yousuf's death.
Rather was responding to the demand of PDP calling for resignations of Omar, Minster of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah over the incident.
Rather had said action under law will be taken if anyone is responsible for the death of Yousuf. PDP legislators sought adjournment of council business to discuss the alleged custodial death of an NC worker.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he has "no hesitation" in presenting himself before a judicial inquiry that is to go into the death of a National Conference worker allegedly in police custody.
Omar said that the allegations about his involvement in the incident were "baseless and wild".
In the midst of the Opposition attack, ruling National Conference MLAs took to their feet and started shouting slogans against PDP.
PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig sought to question the Speaker's rejection of the motion notice but the members of the treasury benches including several ministers rose in protest.