Calcutta, Oct. 5: Lalbazar has lived up to its crimson name and moved to Alimuddin Street without telling Writers’ Buildings.
Former chief minister Jyoti Basu said this afternoon that two of the police officers linked to the Rizwanur Rahman controversy “have been removed”.
Basu made the disclosure at the CPM Bengal headquarters on Alimuddin Street soon after a state committee meeting — an unusual venue for such an announcement as the police are expected to have little to do with any political party.
Till late this evening, neither chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who holds charge of the police berth, nor the home secretary would confirm that any officer had been transferred. The cautious approach is being seen as an attempt to address legal concerns.
With Basu publicly declaring that “dujon ke to shoriye dewa hoyechhe”, some transfers are possible in the police department. But it is not clear how the transfer of two comparatively “low-rung” officers would help resolve the larger question of the cause of Rizwanur’s death.
The former chief minister did not identify the duo. Speculation is swirling around assistant commissioner Sukanti Chakraborty and sub-inspector Krishnendu Das as they have been questioned by the CID.
| Basu and Bhattacharjee at Alimuddin Street on Friday. Picture by Amit Datta
Basu singled out police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee for his statement that couples from different “financial and social status” are incompatible and that the reaction of the Todis, Rizwanur’s in-laws who wanted to break up the marriage, was “natural”.
“The statement that the police commissioner made was unwarranted and very bad. We have discussed it but no decision has been taken yet. The chief minister is looking into the matter,’’ Basu said. “We are waiting for the high court’s verdict on the petition for a CBI probe (into the death of Rizwanur).’’
Later, at Writers’ Buildings, the chief minister declined to comment, citing a judicial probe and a high court case. “How can I comment on what Jyotibabu said' I’ve ordered a judicial probe, which has started. Then, there is a case running in the high court. When all this is going on, it is not possible for me to make any comment. Why ask me'” said Bhattacharjee.
Told Rizwanur’s mother wanted to meet him, Bhattacharjee said: “If she wants to meet me, she can.”
An aide close to Basu said what the veteran meant was that the two officers — presumably Chakraborty and Das — would be transferred soon. A few days ago, too, Basu had beaten Writers’ Buildings to the draw when he said the judicial commission would complete the inquiry within three months.
Home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said he had not been told about the removal of any officer. But he said the government was seeking legal advice on the transfer of Gyanwant Singh and Ajoy Kumar, who have been accused of masterminding the police involvement.
Asked if the government can take action while the cases are on, Ray said: “Possibly the government can, but for that we require legal advice. In fact, many people are of the opinion that doing so (taking action now) can put the government in a weak position.”
Water resources minister and CPI leader Nandogopal Bhattacharya said the “removal” of two “low-rung” police officers would not improve the government’s tarnished image. “We want the removal of the senior officers, including the commissioner,” he added.