The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Judicial probe fuels ‘deep-freeze’ fears

Calcutta, Sept. 27: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today announced a judicial probe into the death of Rizwanur Rahman, saying the “money power” and “communal” angles to the case needed investigation.

Retired Justice Aloke Chakraborty will conduct the inquiry — announced three days after the chief minister had ordered a CID probe — and the government will draw up the terms of reference “as soon as possible”.

“The judge will be an independent authority. He can summon anyone he wants,” the chief minister said.

Judicial probes usually take a long time but the government may have pre-empted a CBI investigation, as demanded by Rizwanur’s family who approached the high court today. The petition will be heard tomorrow.

Rizwanur, 30, who had married businessman Ashok Todi’s daughter against her family’s wishes, was found dead on the railway tracks on Friday morning. His written allegation that Lalbazar had colluded with his father-in-law in armtwisting him and trying to break up the marriage has provoked public outrage.

Todi was questioned today in Bhabani Bhavan for over three hours.

“We have heard the chief minister has ordered a judicial probe but the officers responsible for my brother’s death still hold their posts,” Rizwanur’s brother Rukbanur said. “Only a CBI inquiry can bring out the truth.”

But a grim-faced chief minister said this evening: “There will be no effort to shield any officer. There are many dimensions to this case. There is money power and the communal angle.”

Asked why he was instituting a judicial probe having already ordered a CID inquiry, Bhattacharjee said: “Since then I have found out many other facts… from government and political sources as well as a cross-section of people. This incident has shaken up the people… raised many questions in people’s minds.”

Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty said a judicial probe would “put the case in deep freeze for five years”.

“I shall try my best to find the truth as soon as possible,” Justice Chakraborty said.

Some legal experts said judicial inquiries were toothless. “Judicial commissions lack the power to arrest people,” advocate Arunava Ghosh said. “They can only make recommendations that the government may or may not accept.”

The CID probe will continue, but the judge’s decision will prevail, Bhattacharjee said.

The transport minister said the three officers accused should be removed from their current posts for the duration of the CID probe.

Police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee had earlier caused an uproar by appearing to suggest his officers had a right to interfere in legally valid marriages. He had also declared the death a suicide without a post-mortem report.

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