Yasin Malik appears before court in Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case

JAMMU — Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik appeared via video-conferencing before a special court here on Friday and an eyewitness identified him in the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of then Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

The eyewitness corroborated that he had gone to Sopore in Baramulla district of north Kashmir at the time of the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed and identified the place and persons connected with it, the prosecution said, terming it a major success for their side.

Malik, who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail serving a jail term in a terror financing case, was not produced in the court physically due to a Ministry of Home Affairs order restricting his movement.

“Today, there was a case of Yasin Malik with the special judge of TADA court with regard to Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case. We had summoned two eyewitnesses — number 7 and number 13. The eyewitness number 13 was present in the court and the eyewitness number 7 could not attend due to health reasons,” senior public prosecutor S K Bhat told reporters.

The statement of the eyewitness (13) was recorded and Malik was present during the examination through virtual mode, he said, adding the other accused in the case were also present in the court.

The eyewitness, who identified Malik through virtual mode, also identified another accused Mohammad Zaman in the open court, Bhat added.

He said the eyewitness admitted that he had gone to Sopore, along with another eyewitness, a day after the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed.

“As per his statement, he met two accused in Khan guest house there and he identified both the accused, which is a major achievement for the prosecution,” he said.

Of the two accused, Ali Mohammad Mir who is the prime accused in the kidnapping case after Malik, had taken Rubaiya Sayeed in his vehicle to Sopore from Srinagar and kept her in the Khan guest house, Bhat said.

When the eyewitnesses returned to Srinagar, Mir gave them their vehicle and the vehicle of the eyewitnesses was kept in Sopore, he said.

The eyewitness (13) identified the places and the accused twice in the court, Bhat said.

The court has directed the prosecution to produce the two witnesses in the case on the next date of hearing on March 31.

On Friday, Rubaiya did not appear for the hearing as her exemption application had earlier been approved by the court.

During the last hearing on July 15, Rubaiya had identified five accused, including Malik.

Rubaiya was abducted from near Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar on December 8, 1989. She was freed five days later after the then V P Singh government, supported by the BJP, at the Centre released five militants in exchange.

Now living in Tamil Nadu, Rubaiya is listed as a prosecution witness by the CBI, which took over the case in early 1990.

Malik, 56, is lodged in Tihar Jail after he was sentenced by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in May last year. He was arrested in early 2019 in connection with the 2017 terror financing case registered by the NIA.

Malik had observed a 10-day hunger strike in July last year after the Centre did not respond to his plea to physically appear in the Jammu court hearing the abduction case. — (PTI)