Reeling under social and political pressure since 30-year-old graphics designer Rizwanur Rahaman was found dead under mysterious circumstances almost a month ago, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Wednesday finally gave in and ordered the transfer of Kolkata Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee, deputy commissioners Gyanwant Singh and Ajay Kumar, assistant commissioner Sukanti Chakraborty and sub-inspector Krishnendu Das.
Later in the day, the government apppointed senior police officer Gautam Mohan Chakraborty as police commissioner and also announced the replacements for Singh and Kumar.
The DCs and two junior officers were charged with harassing Rizwanur and his family and threatening them with dire consequences if he did not sever ties with his wife Priyanka, daughter of businessman Ashok Todi. Mukherjee invited trouble after he defended the illegal intervention by the police into the marriage of two consenting adults at a press conference.
The name of cricketer Sourav Ganguly's brother Snehasish, a director in Todi's company Lux Cozi, was also dragged into the controversy, and it soon snowballed into a crisis for the government.
Although the CM ordered a CID probe and set up a one-man inquiry commission, large sections of the city's minority community and intellectuals questioned the government's intention in defending the tainted officers. When the high court on Tuesday, acting on a petition filed by Rizwanur's mother Kishwar Jahan and brother Rukbanur, ordered a CBI probe, the government had to accept moral defeat.
On Wednesday, sparks flew at the Left Front meeting with CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc leaders demanding punishment for the officers. Bhattacharjee told them that the state government had accepted the high court order regarding a CBI probe in view of the present turmoil and public sentiment. He also promised to remove the officers immediately after Durga Puja. But the Front leaders refused to relent. Later, the CM made a formal announcement at Writers' Building, where he also said the government would cooperate with the CBI.