Cross-examination in Rubaiya abduction case begins

Jammu, September 05 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the cross-examination of witnesses in the three-decade-old cases of the gunning down of four IAF personnel and the abduction of then Indian Home Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, began at a special court in Jammu.

Abdul Rehman Sofi, a prosecution witness in both the cases, and Saleem alias ‘Nanaji’, an accused in the killing of IAF personnel, were present in the court, officials said.

Muhammad Yasin Malik of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, who has been charged in both cases separately along with other accused, joined the proceedings through video-conferencing from Delhi’s Tihar Jail where he is lodged. Officials said the cross-examination was deferred after some time as many other accused could not appear in the court for what their counsels termed “disturbance” in the Kashmir Valley. Senior counsel Monika Kohli, who has been appointed as the CBI chief prosecutor in these cases, led the examination on behalf of the agency.

Yasin Malik, currently lodged in the Tihar Jail after he was arrested by the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) in April 2019 in connection with a false case, informed the court that he would like to cross-examine the witnesses himself and would not take any help from any lawyer, the officials said. The charges were framed against Malik and six others on March 16 last year in the killing of four IAF personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar on January 25, 1990. Besides Malik, others accused charged in the killing of IAF personnel are Ali Mohammed Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mustafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias ‘Nalka’, Showkat Ahmed Bakshi, Javed Ahmed Zargar and Nanaji.

In the 1989 abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, the court had framed the charges against Malik and nine others on January 11 this year. Decks for the trial of Malik and others in the case were cleared in April 2019 when the Kashmir High Court struck down a 2008 order that had transferred the hearing to Srinagar.

In the abduction case, the court framed charges against Malik and nine others — Ali Mohammad Mir, Mohammad Zaman Mir, Iqbal Ahmad Gandroo, Javed Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Rafiq Pahloo, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi, Wajahat Bashir, Mehraj-ud-Din Sheikh and Showkat Ahmad Bakshi.