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J&K advocate murder case: Former HC bar association president sent to 14-day judicial custody

Qayoom, arrested by the State Investigation Agency (SIA) in Srinagar on June 25, was produced before the court of special judge Jatinder Singh Jamwal on the expiry of his second remand. The court has sent him to judicial custody till July 20.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 12:13 IST

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Jammu: A NIA court here on Saturday sent former president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association's Srinagar wing Mian Abdul Qayoom to 14-day judicial custody for his alleged involvement in the murder conspiracy of a fellow advocate in 2020.

Advocate Babar Qadri, a human rights expert who frequently appeared on television debates, was fatally shot by terrorists at his residence in the Hawal area of Srinagar in September 2020. He had narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 2018.

Qayoom, arrested by the State Investigation Agency (SIA) in Srinagar on June 25, was produced before the court of special judge Jatinder Singh Jamwal on the expiry of his second remand. The court has sent him to judicial custody till July 20, officials said.

Courts designated to hear cases of anti-terror agency NIA also takes up cases of the SIA, a wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police that enforces counter-terrorism laws in the Union Territory. Police had claimed that a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, Saqib Manzoor, was involved in Qadri's killing. Manzoor and another militant commander were killed in a gunfight with police in Srinagar in 2022.

Qayoom, 76, a prominent figure in Kashmir associated with the All Party Hurriyat Conference, was arrested by the SIA after it took over the case in July last year. He was brought to Jammu by the SIA immediately after his arrest on June 25 and was produced before the presiding officer of the fast track court the next day. It sent him to five-day police remand which was subsequently extended by six days by the special court.

In January, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court transferred the case to a Jammu court from Srinagar, saying, "for a fair and impartial trial of a criminal case, it is imperative that the witnesses are in a position to depose in an atmosphere, which is free and not hostile".

The high court order came on an application moved by the SIA, saying no lawyer from Srinagar was willing to render legal assistance due to the involvement of some "influential" lawyers based in the city.

The Srinagar Police first filed a charge-sheet in the case against six accused in the special UAPA court in Srinagar in 2021.

In August 2022, police, as part of its probe, conducted searches at Qayoom's residences and those of two other lawyers in Srinagar, seizing digital devices, bank statements and documents.

Last September, the SIA announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information leading to solving Qadri's killing.

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Published 06 July 2024, 12:13 IST

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