Produce Yasin Malik on Oct 20, Jammu court tells CBI in Rubaiya case

Jammu: Hearing the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case, a special court in Jammu on Wednesday asked the CBI to produce separatist leader and JKLF chief Yasin Malik before it on October 20 to cross-examine the witnesses. Rubaiya, daughter of former Union Home Minister and J&K ex-CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was kidnapped in 1989 and released five days later on December 13 after the then government freed five terrorists to secure her release.

Monika Kohli, standing counsel for the CBI, said the court issued production warrants despite objection by the central agency on the ground that there were specific directions of the High Court that all accused be presented through videoconference.

Rubaiya Sayeed, who was present during the hearing, said she never looked back at the horrific incident as she tried to live a normal life. Currently lodged in Tihar jail, Malik appeared before the court through videoconferencing. He once again insisted for his physical appearance to cross-examine the witness.

On reports that Rubaiya told the court that she did not recall any of the accused present in the court or having identified any of them before the investigating agency, the CBI counsel said, “She had identified Malik again through the photographs during the cross-examination.”

Kohli said Rubaiya had on July 15 identified five accused, including Malik, and the question of identifying the accused again today was never there. Rubaiya will be present in the court on October 20 because Malik has to cross-examine her, Kohli said.

Malik has been insisting on his physical appearance to cross-examine the witness and had turned down the court’s offer of legal aid or amicus in the past.

Rubaiya was abducted near Lal Ded Hospital on December 8, 1989 and freed five days later on December 13 after the then VP Singh government, supported by the BJP at the Centre, released five terrorists in exchange.

The 56-year-old Malik is at present lodged in the high-security Tihar Jail after he was sentenced by a special NIA court in Delhi in May.

Witness to be cross-examined

The court issued the production warrant for cross-examining the witness on October 20. Malik had been seeking his physical presence for months and had even observed a hunger strike. In July this year, Rubaiya Sayeed had identified Yasin Malik and four others in the court who took her captive in 1989.
(With inputs from PTI)