Over two years after computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman was found dead under mysterious circumstances near a railway track here, the Calcutta high court today directed the CBI to register a murder case and initiate the investigations afresh.
A division bench of Justices Bhaskar Bhattacharya and P Mondal directed the investigating agency to conclude its investigation within four months. Rizwanur was found dead near railway tracks in Dumdum area on September 21, 2007, just a month after his marriage to Priyanka Todi, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi, owner of the Rs 200-crore Lux Cozi hosiery brand.
Todi, his brother Pradip and brother in-law Anil Sarogi are accused in the case along with senior IPS officers then serving in the Kolkata Police. The court directed the CBI to treat a September 21, 2007, complaint by Rizwanur's elder brother Rukbanur Rahman to be treated as an FIR.
It was alleged that Rizwanur had been threatened and intimidated by senior officers of Kolkata Police at the behest of Todi and other relatives in allowing her to go back to her paternal home at posh Salt Lake area.
However, despite an assurance that she would be sent back to Rizwanur's home at Park Circus in south Kolkata after a week, she did not return.
A heartbroken Rizwanur was found dead a few days later near railway tracks under mysterious circumstances at Patipukur in Dumdum, a couple of kilometres from the Todi household.
The high court has vindicated our stand and it has directed the CBI to re-investigate the case...we are much satisfied that our long-standing demand of treating Rizwanur's death as a murder case stands vindicated," Rukbanur said.
On October 16, 2007, a single bench of the high court had ordered a CBI investigation into the cause of the death of the youth and asked it to submit a report to it within two months on a petition by Rizwanur's mother Kishwar Jahan.
Jahan had alleged the involvement of the then police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee, DCP (headquarters) Gyanwant Singh and deputy commissioner (detective department) Ajay Kumar in intimidating her son and claimed that the state CID probe would not be impartial.
The division bench today set aside the CBI investigation earlier ordered by Justice Soumitra Pal, while ordering the fresh probe, observing that the earlier order had not mandated the CBI to file any charge sheet or to recommend action against any police officer, which it had done.
All the three officers had been transferred out of the Kolkata Police following the CBI report recommending departmental action against them.
The division bench observed the trial court had merely directed the CBI to investigate the cause of Rizwanur's death and not to investigate the alleged crime.
The CBI had in its report then had concluded that Rizwanur's death was a case of suicide and recommended initiation of abetment to suicide case under Section 306 of the IPC.
The division bench in its order today, while directing the initiation of a murder case and fresh investigation by the CBI into it, noted the "allegations of the role of police in breaking the matrimonial tie of an adult couple".
It also noted that the Todi family had close connections with senior police officers due to their sponsoring of police programmes or through Snehaish Ganguly, a former cricketer and elder brother of former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.
The court criticised the role of the state government observing that it was indecisive and vacillating in deciding on the course of action following huge uproar over the death. While the GRP was first entrusted with the probe, the state then ordered a CID investigation.
Again, the state instituted a judicial probe by a retired high court judge, only to withdraw it after the CBI probe was ordered by the Calcutta High Court on October 16, 2007.
"We fail to appreciate why the CID stopped all investigation after October 16 and handed over all original records to the CBI, despite there being no such order from the high court," the division bench observed.
The court said it appeared that the state was sailing in the same boat as the indicted police officers and as such it was a fit case for CBI investigation due to the gravity of the situation.