HT Image
HT Image

Top cops grilled over Rizwanur death

West Bengal's CID has summoned and interrogated two senior IPS officers for their alleged involvement in the mysterious death of the Muslim youth.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2007 05:21 PM IST

West Bengal's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Saturday summoned and interrogated two senior IPS officers for their alleged involvement in the mysterious death of Muslim youth Rizwanur Rahaman.

"Both the IPS officers -- Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters) Gyanwant Singh and Detective Department Deputy Commissioner Ajoy Kumar were summoned by the CID and interrogated. Their statements have been recorded," a CID spokesman told reporters here.

Police sources said the interrogation of both IPS officials started at around 8 a.m. and concluded around 1 pm at CID headquarters Bhabani Bhavan.

The CID had submitted an interim report of the ongoing probe into the mysterious death of Rizwanur to state Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy on Wednesday.

Roy said on Friday that the two deputy commissioners might be removed if their alleged involvement in Rizwanur's death and the events preceding the tragedy was proved.

He said the government would also take legal advice in the matter and proceed accordingly.

Two officials of Kolkata Police -- Assistant Commissioner Sukanta Chakraborty and Sub-Inspector Krishnendu Das of the anti-rowdy section -- have already been removed from their posts.

Rizwanur, a 30-year-old graphic designer, was found dead on September 21 near a railway track with his head smashed. The top cops interrogated Saturday had allegedly intimidated the youth after his marriage to a Hindu girl Priyanka Todi, daughter of Ashok Todi, who heads the multi-million dollar Lux Cozi hosiery group.

Earlier Friday, veteran leader of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and former chief minister Jyoti Basu said after Calcutta High Court heard the case, the government would take suitable action against the Kolkata Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee over his remarks defending the right of Todi to call back his daughter married to a man from a different religion against his wishes.

Basu strongly condemned the comments of Mukherjee in a press conference after the death in which the top cop almost held a brief for the Todis.

"The police commissioner's remarks were in very bad taste. He should never have said that. What he has said is his own view and the government does not subscribe to it. The chief minister has listened to his statement on television and is very perturbed over it," Basu said.

The government's action against the police officers follows intense pressure from senior ruling Left politicians, opposition leaders, intellectuals and the media over the past few days.

Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi had set the tone on Tuesday by demanding a proper inquiry into the case and promising suitable action against the guilty.

Candlelight vigils, protest marches and signature campaigns were held at various places here forcing the government to take action against the cops.

Sujato Bhadra of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), a human rights body, said, "I think it is a victory of sorts for all of us. But it all depends on whether the government takes action against the senior IPS officers involved in the case."

Rizwanur was in touch with Bhadra before his death and had given a written complaint about the harassment by the police officials.

Students of St Xavier's College, where Rizwanur had studied, kept an 18-hour vigil outside the college gates, demanding action against the guilty and a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into his death.

Rizwanur's family and friends are not giving up easily. One of his friends in Canada has already lodged a complaint with the Amnesty International. Friends from across the world are sending emails in support of the bereaved family. And an SMS campaign for justice is gaining momentum.

The West Bengal chief minister had ordered a judicial probe into the death on September 27 by former Calcutta High Court judge Alok Chakraborty after police involvement in the case came out in the open.

Earlier, the name of former Bengal Ranji Trophy cricketer Snehasish Ganguly, brother of cricket icon Sourav Ganguly, was dragged into the case after he admitted introducing the Todis to Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee.

Story Saved