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Letter points needle of suspicion at Todi

A letter supposedly written by Priyanka and Rizwanur says clearly that the couple feared foul play by Priyanka's father Ashok Todi.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON OCT 26, 2007 04:54 PM IST

A letter to the police supposedly written by Priyanka Todi and her late husband Rizwanur Rahman, more than two weeks before his body was found on a railway track, says clearly that the couple feared foul play by her father Ashok Todi.

Pointing the needle of suspicion at industrialist Todi, the letter dated Sep 3 to Ajoy Kumar, former deputy commissioner of police (detective department) who was transferred after the controversy broke, states: "We would like to inform you that our father-in-law/father may engage some anti-socials/criminals to kidnap us or may try to forcefully abduct us.

"Some antisocials are coming to our place and threatening us of dire consequences if we continue to stay together at our place."

Published by The Telegraph, Kolkata, the letter carries signatures that read "Rizwanur Rahman and Priyanka Todi". It mentions how the couple was threatened with "dire consequences" if they continued to stay together at 7B Tiljala Lane, the Rahmans' residence.

Rizwanur, a 30-year-old graphic designer, was found dead with his head smashed on Sep 21 by the railway tracks, barely a month after his marriage to Priyanka, daughter of industrialist Todi.

The letter, which carries the seal of the deputy commissioner's office in acknowledgement of receipt, is dated Sep 3, 2007; two days after Priyanka left her home and 18 days before Rizwanur died.

The missive attributed to the couple indicates that they feared the worst from Priyanka's father.

"Please be informed that if anything happens to us the person who will be responsible is Mr Ashok Kumar Todi," says a line in the letter.

The couple signs off with a plea to police to "provide us protection".

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the case on a Calcutta High Court directive, took possession of the letter recently.

A CBI officer was quoted by the daily saying: "It is clear from the letter that the couple were very scared. But Priyanka did not tell us about the letter. Neither did she tell us about the anti-socials."

The letter also makes a passing reference to attempts at bribery -- an issue that has become a raging controversy now. "They (the anti-socials) are trying to threaten and bribe our people so that somehow the girl is sent back to her parents."

Rizwanur's family Thursday categorically denied allegations of accepting any money from the Todis at any point of time.

Text messages purportedly from Rizwanur's mobile phone on Sep 21 are further clouding the case, which has led to the transfer of police chief Prasun Mukherjee and others.

"Papa (to Ashok Todi) there is 5 mins before I kill myself, talk to me last time", reads one message. Another reportedly reads: "Mom (mother of Priyanka) Hum Apna Jaan Denge 5 min mein, ek baar uska awaz dijiye (Mom, I will kill myself in five minutes, please let me talk to her (Priyanka)".

Though these messages strengthen the suicide theory, it is feared that Kolkata police has released these texts selectively to make it seem that Rizwanur took his life because he was depressed.

According to human rights activist Sujato Bhadra, it was about the same time that Rizwanur had called him and showed a resolve to fight his battle to get back his wife. Rizwanur had wanted to meet Bhadra in the evening as well, the activist said.

The CBI is now probing the missing SMS or call links amid these messages.

The Calcutta High Court had on Oct 16 ordered a CBI inquiry into Rizwanur's death, terming the ongoing CID investigation as "illegal".

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