Sagar Vs Mehbooba: Court issues bailable warrant against top officer

SRINAGAR: A local court here has issued bailable warrant against Secretary Tourism, Shalinder Kumar for recording his statement as witness in a defamation case filed against PDP president Mehbooba Mufti by National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar in 2004.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar, Masrat Shaheen, has directed DIG central Kashmir to execute the warrant in order to secure the presence of Kumar, then deputy commissioner Srinagar and District Election Officer, on October 29.
The court issued the warrant to Kumar as he failed to turn up despite assuring to be present before it.
On last of hearing, Kumar had moved an application for exemption and had assured the court that he will be present on next date of hearing. However, as he did not turn up, the court issued bailable warrant against him.
Besides Kumar, the prosecution witnesses include Shrief-u-Din, then additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and Assistant Returning Officer, Khawja Bashir, former Deputy Commissioner Budgam and the returning officer, Irshad Ahmad, then Magistrate on duty, Bashir Ahmad Khan, then Superintendent of Srinagar city (north) and Advocate Shabir Ahmad.
Among them, statements of Sharief-u-din, Khawja Bashir and Irshad Ahmad have already been recorded by the court. Besides, Sagar’s witnesses in the case are editors of a few local English and Urdu dailies.
Sagar, who was chief polling agent of Omar Abdullah during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, had filed a defamation suit against the PDP president, who had accused him of rigging elections by indulging in booth capturing.
Sagar has alleged that Mehbooba had damaged his image by making defamatory statements that he was carrying bogus voters from booth to booth in favour of Omar, the former chief minister, during the parliamentary elections in 2004 and a case( FIR no. 22/2004) stands registered in this regard in police station Khanyar.
Sagar also alleged that Mehbooba defamed him publically by claiming he was responsible for burning Nowakadal bridge in 1986.
At one point in time, Mehbooba had approached the High Court, seeking dismissal of the suit. However, the high court dismissed the PDP chief’s petition and directed the trial court to go ahead with the proceedings.