The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘When Priyanka asked Rizwanur to wait, he agreed’

The following is the second and concluding part of the narration of events by a person close to the Todi family. The Telegraph is reproducing the version exactly as rendered by the Todi family confidant. This is the Todi family’s side of the story, as told to Devadeep Purohit of The Telegraph.

The first part had ended where Priyanka Todi returned to her parents’ home.

September 8 night

When Ashok Todi learnt that Priyanka had come back home, he was determined to leave hospital and be with her. Doctors advised against it, but he signed a bond and left Apollo. He came back late at night but chose not to discuss the matter with his daughter immediately.

September 9 to 11

The family decided to leave for Tirupati (in Andhra Pradesh) at once to perform a puja that we had promised to perform if Priyanka returned home. We reached Tirupati on September 10 and checked into Fortune Kences hotel for a few hours so that Ashok could take rest.

After the puja, we headed out to Tiruppur (in Tamil Nadu) where we have a large house. We decided to stay there for a few days to take stock of the business set-up we have there and also to give Priyanka’s matter some time to settle down.

The first time Ashok spoke to Priyanka about her marriage was on September 11. She told him that she was in love with Rizwanur and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.

Then her father asked her whether she was aware of the implications of marrying Rizwanur after running away from home and of the impact it would have on the family. Ashok told his daughter if she was to return to Rizwanur at once, it would jeopardise the chances of getting her younger sister and her cousin — son of Ashok and Pradip’s deceased elder brother — married.

Priyanka understood the problem and said she would not do anything that would malign the family name. Ashok then told her she should stay on with them for a few months, till her cousin and kid sister were married. During that time, the Todis would run a check to ascertain what kind of a boy Rizwanur was and whether he had married her for love or money. The wait would also prove how much Priyanka really loved him.

Priyanka agreed and said she would convey this to Rizwanur.

Priyanka then called Rizwanur — she had left her mobile behind at the Tiljala Lane house before leaving, so she used another number — and told him that she would have to stay on with her family for more than seven days.

“It might take three months, six months, one year or even forever. Will you wait for me'” she asked him.

“Yes, I will wait for you forever,” he told her.

Ashok then assured his daughter that if they were really in love and waited it out, he would “settle them in Delhi or Mumbai”.

Everyone was happy with this arrangement. Pradip returned to Calcutta on September 11.

September 12 to 20

We were having a nice time in Tiruppur. The kids would go out for movies and dinner. Priyanka seemed happy. As far as we know, she did not get in touch with Rizwanur during those few days.

Back in Calcutta, Pradip had started digging for some background information on Rizwanur.

Priyanka had told him about Rizwanur’s friendship with a classmate in college. Pradip, along with his wife, went to meet this girl who praised Rizwanur as a “soft-spoken, decent boy”, but who was also reluctant to work hard. She even spoke to Priyanka over phone and told her that Rizwanur was a nice boy, but she should still give it a serious thought before settling down with him.

On September 15, someone who identified himself as Sadique called up Pradip and asked him why Priyanka was not returning to Rizwanur. He left his cellphone number with Pradip and demanded an explanation why Priyanka was not contacting her husband.

Pradip filed a complaint about “the threat call” with the detective department. After that, the anti-rowdy squad was deployed to sort out the matter.

September 21-23

In Tiruppur, Ashok received an SMS from Rizwanur’s number around 9am in which the sender threatened to kill himself in the next five minutes and urged Priyanka’s father to speak to him one last time. Ten minutes later there was a farewell message from Rizwanur’s number where the sender said he was leaving a letter behind.

Ashok thought it was Rizwanur threatening to kill himself and creating pressure to get Priyanka back. He chose to ignore both the messages. He did not tell his daughter about them.

Late in the evening, Pradip returned to his Salt Lake home after work and turned on the television. Suddenly, he saw a news flash that Rizwanur Rahman had been found dead along the railway tracks between Dum Dum and Bidhannagar.

He at once called up Ashok and informed him of the tragedy.

Ashok decided not to share the information with Priyanka immediately. The next day, too, he did not tell her, fearing her reaction.

On September 23, Ashok told Priyanka that Rizwanur had tried to commit suicide and suffered serious injuries. He was in ICCU.

Priyanka broke down on hearing the news. She kept crying. She said she must return to Calcutta at once. Ashok promised to take her back home as soon as possible.

The next day, Ashok told his daughter that Rizwanur was dead. Priyanka was in shock.

We all came back to Calcutta on September 27. Everyone knows what happened after that.

We as a family have not been able to figure out why someone who on September 11 had told Priyanka that he was ready to wait for her all his life would want to commit suicide 10 days later. What could have happened in those 10 days' Was it suicide or accident' We don’t have any answer.

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