The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Meeting that never was

Calcutta, Oct. 26: Rights activist Sujato Bhadra was not the only person Rizwanur Rahman had called on the morning of his death promising to meet later in the day.

He had also rung colleague Debraj Banerjee and fixed a meeting in the evening.

Debraj, whom CBI sleuths questioned twice today, told The Telegraph Rizwanur had called or sent text messages to several friends on September 21 morning, asking them to meet him immediately. But each said a meeting was possible only in the evening.

“He desperately wanted us to be with him. He called me between 10.15 and 10.20 and asked me to meet him as soon as I could,” Debraj said.

“Since I was busy, I promised to meet him in the evening. He agreed. I never got the impression he was going to take his own life.”

CBI officials, who have examined the text messages purportedly sent from Rizwanur’s mobile that morning and questioned the recipients, said that for an hour and a half before his death, the computer graphics teacher was desperately looking for a shoulder to cry on.

“The contents of the SMS sent to Ashok Todi and his wife, which said he would end his life in five minutes, prove he could not bear the separation with Priyanka,” an official said.

Debraj said he told the sleuths that Rizwanur had sent an SMS to a common friend saying “Mere jane ke baad awaz uthana (raise your voice after I leave).”

“I won’t name the friend to the media,” Debraj said. The CID had earlier failed to establish the existence of this SMS.

A CBI official said Rizwanur was trying to borrow money from his friends.

“He told them he was preparing for a legal battle. It seems he did not get assurance of financial help from his friends and got into a depression.”

He said Rizwanur was not staying with his family and did not contact them on September 21 because “he wanted to fight the battle alone”.

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