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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has turned down the state government’s request that a sitting judge of the court probe the custodial death of National Conference (NC) worker Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf, official sources said on Monday. According to sources, chief justice KM Kalifullah has told the state government that it is not within his competence to nominate a sitting judge of the high court to probe the death.

“As per the ruling of the Supreme Court, it up to the Supreme Court and the president to do so,” the government has been told, said a source.

The state government on Sep 30 requested the high court to spare a sitting judge to probe the death of Yousuf who died here under mysterious circumstances.

Yousuf has been accused of taking a bribe of Rs 1.18 crore from two middle-rung NC leaders in return for getting one of them a ministerial berth and the other a legislator’s job.

He was picked up for questioning from chief minister Omar Abdullah’s residence by the crime branch of the local police and allegedly died in police custody Sep 30.

Police said he died of cardiac arrest while the deceased’s relatives allege he had been tortured to death in custody.

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