Calcutta HC rules out CBI probe in Anish Khan’s death; asks family to cooperate

Published on Feb 24, 2022 10:14 PM IST

Anish Khan, a former student of Kolkata’s Aliah University died under mysterious circumstances at his residence in Amta in the early hours of February 19. Salem Khan, his father, alleged that four police personnel came to his home around 12.30 am on the night of the incident and murdered Anish by throwing him off the second-floor roof of the building.

The Calcutta high court on Thursday rejected the plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of student leader Anish Khan in Bengal’s Howrah district. (HT PHOTO.)
The Calcutta high court on Thursday rejected the plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of student leader Anish Khan in Bengal’s Howrah district. (HT PHOTO.)

The Calcutta high court on Thursday rejected the plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of student leader Anish Khan at Amta in Bengal’s Howrah district last week and directed his family to cooperate with the state’s special investigation team (SIT) by allowing it to exhume the body for a second post-mortem examination.

Passing his order on a petition filed by noted lawyer and CPI (M) Rajya Saba member Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, Justice Rajasekhar Mantha said the family must hand over Khan’s mobile phone to the SIT that chief minister Mamata Banerjee formed on Monday with director general of police Manoj Malviya as its head.

The phone has to be sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad for data recovery, the court ruled. It also said the second post-mortem examination has to be conducted in the presence of a representative of the Howrah district judge.

The SIT must complete the probe expeditiously and file a report after 15 days, the court said, adding that members of Anish Khan’s family must be given the opportunity to identify the suspects.

Anish Khan, a former student of Kolkata’s Aliah University died under mysterious circumstances at his residence in Amta in the early hours of February 19. Salem Khan, his father, alleged that four police personnel came to his home around 12.30 am on the night of the incident and murdered Anish by throwing him off the second-floor roof of the building.

The SIT on Wednesday arrested home guard Kashinath Bera and civic police volunteer Pritam Bhattacharya who were posted at Amta police station. They were remanded in judicial custody by a local court on Thursday. While being taken to court, Bera and Bhattacharya alleged that they were made scapegoats.

“We were working under orders from senior officers. Now they are making us scapegoats. We don’t know how Anish Khan died,” said Bera.

Salem Khan earlier refused to allow a second post-mortem examination or part with the phone saying he has no faith in the local police.

While the court was hearing the petition on Thursday, sporadic agitation rocked Amta with a few hundred local residents breaking through police barricades and trying to storm the Amta police station. Demonstrations were also held in Kolkata by students of Aliah University and members of the youth and student fronts of the CPI (M).

Reacting to the court order, Salem Khan demanded the arrest of senior police officers and some Trinamool Congress (TMC) panchayat leaders from Howrah district. “I have been making these demands for a long time. The arrested men have said they are being made scapegoats,” he said.

Sabir Khan, the elder brother of Anish, said, “We have to follow the orders of the high court but we will move the Supreme Court if we feel that a CBI probe is necessary for unravelling the crime.”

Sabir Khan earlier alleged that he received an anonymous threat call on Tuesday night for demanding a CBI probe.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said: “We demanded an impartial probe because we strongly feel that Anish was murdered. The state government told the court that the probe will be unbiased. We have demanded copies of the post-mortem and forensic examination reports.”

TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh refused to comment on the allegations raised by Khan’s family and the arrested home guard and civic police volunteer.

“Our party has nothing to say because the government is conducting the investigation. It will follow the court’s order,” Ghosh said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Bengal unit spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said the high court’s order proved that not all appeals for CBI probe are justified.

Leader of the opposition in the Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, however, continued to maintain that senior police officers were involved in the conspiracy to murder Khan.

“A number of senior officers and TMC leaders are involved. Only a CBI probe can unearth the truth,” Adhikari said.

Dismissing the demand for a CBI probe, the chief minister said on Wednesday that the Central agency had failed to make any breakthrough in numerous important cases, including the theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize medallion from the museum at Santiniketan in Birbum district in 2004.

“Where is the Nobel medallion? Could the CBI arrest anyone for the killing of 14 people at Nandigram in 2007? There are so many instances,” she said.

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