The family of Rizwanur Rahman, the Muslim youth who was found dead on September 21, a month after his marriage with the daughter of a rich Hindu industrialist, on Thursday, categorically denied allegations of accepting any money from the Todis at any point of time.
The family also moved the Calcutta High Court challenging the West Bengal government appointed judicial commission to probe the death since a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe has already been ordered by the court. "We were offered a blank cheque by the Todis at the very outset when they wanted to break the marriage and wanted Priyanka Todi (Rizwanur's widow) back. We could have accepted their offer for an indefinite amount if we wanted money," Rizwanur's brother Rukbanur Rahman, who is spearheading the family's fight for justice, said at a press conference near his residence in Kolkata.
A Bengali TV channel ran a story quoting CBI sources saying that Pradip Todi, brother of Rizwanur's father-in-law Ashok Todi, in his statement to the CBI, had alleged of an uncle of Rizwanur taking money from the Todis.
The statement reportedly said that Pappu alias SM Mahinuddin, who runs an NGO called Peace and was close to the Rizwanur family, was also one of the recipients of the money. "Amid allegations of accepting money from the Todis, I think we owe a clarification to the people who stood by us all along our fight. We have never ever accepted any money from anyone. Even the driver of the Todis - Hari - had come with offers of money, but we stood firm in our stand and refused them," Rukbanur said.
"This is a conspiracy to malign the family and derail the movement for justice. There would be more such allegations and temptations, but I urge all to stick together," he said, reposing his faith once again in the ongoing CBI probe.
Earlier in the day, Rukbanur and his mother Keshwar Jahan filed a case in the high court challenging the legality of a judicial inquiry into Rizwanur's mysterious death. "With the high court already ordering a CBI probe, there is no point in continuing with the Justice (retd) Aloke Chakraborty Commission of Inquiry," the petitioners said.
The case would be heard on November 1. "The CBI probe would bring out the truth of any allegation of money changing hands. The CBI probe is progressing in a positive direction," Rukbanur said.
He also presented all his five uncles at the press conference to support his claims. One of them said: "The Todis wanted us to take the couple to Digha (a sea resort near Kolkata) and then from there Priyanka would be taken away after the settlement of the money."
Rukbanur said Pappu is known to the family. "He runs an NGO and we had even asked him to help us when Rizwanur was pressurized by the police. I had briefly taught English and computer at a centre of Pappu," he said.
Rukbanur also for the first time attacked a section of the press. "How can the CBI disclose the statement of Pradip Todi to press when the court had asked them to prepare the report and present it in a sealed envelope before it (Calcutta High Court)?"
The CBI, meanwhile, checked the accounts of the Rizwanur family with Dena Bank, a TV report said.
Rizwanur, a 30-year-old graphic designer, was found dead with his head smashed on Sep 21 by railway tracks, barely a month after his marriage.
The death triggered a public outcry since several top cops were allegedly involved in bringing pressure on Rizwanur to opt out of the marriage at the behest of Ashok Todi.
The CBI team had already examined Rizwanur's office computer Tuesday and sent it to their laboratory for further examination. They also sent his cell phone and SIM card to the lab.
The High Court had on October 16 ordered a CBI inquiry into Rizwanur's death, terming the ongoing CID investigation as "illegal".
Faced with a court rebuke and public protests, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya last week removed five police officials, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee, for their alleged collusion with Todi.