The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Murder case against Todi

New Delhi/Calcutta, Oct. 19: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today registered a murder case against businessman Ashok Todi and “others” for the mysterious death of Rizwanur Rahman.

The case — launched 28 days after Rizwanur’s death and three days after the CBI was ordered by the high court to take over — is the first instance of any official step against Todi.

Rizwanur’s family had filed a complaint against Todi in Karaya police station but the state administration has not initiated any action against him so far.

CBI sources said leads from a preliminary inquiry, based on information the agency could access so far, justified a case of murder rather than suicide.

However, the sources cautioned against reaching hasty conclusions and said the cause of death could be conclusively established only after an investigation on the ground and questioning of witnesses and suspects.

After much deliberation, the CBI felt that the role of Todi, Rizwanur’s father-in-law who wanted to break up his marriage, needed to be investigated first.

The sources said the role of some senior police officers was also not above board. “The officers appeared to have colluded with Todi in a cover-up job,” a source said.

CBI officials refused to say if any police officer — five were given punishment transfer on Wednesday — had been named in the first information report. But the sources said some policemen had been booked.

“Calcutta High Court has asked us to carry out investigations quickly and secretly. So, we cannot disclose the details till the FIR is submitted in the court,” a senior CBI officer said. The FIR will be submitted in the high court tomorrow.

A team of CBI officials, led by joint director (special crime investigations) Arun Kumar, reached Calcutta tonight. The team is eventually expected to number 16.

The sources said the CBI would request the court to order Todi to surrender his passport and not leave the city without informing the agency.

Officially, the CBI said it would investigate “all possible angles” and ensure justice was done. Having gone through the case file of the state CID, a CBI officer said the suicide theory seemed too contrived.

“The CID has not taken so many angles into account. Their questioning of Todi and the police officers seems too cursory, almost a formality. Now that we have gone through all the documents — the court order, the petition and the CID report — we are pretty certain it is a case of murder. However, nothing can be said till investigations are complete,” the official added.

In line with the court order, the CBI intends to complete the investigation within two months.

The Rahman family welcomed the move to register a murder case. “We have full faith in the CBI,” Kishwar Jahan, Rizwanur’s mother, said. “I am his mother and my heart says that he was murdered. I am sure that I will get justice.”

Rukbanur, Rizwanur’s brother, said he got a call from the CBI office in Delhi, informing him of the case.

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