Cops admit to intervention in Rizwanur marriage

Written by Political Bureau | Kolkata, Mar 27 | Updated: Mar 28 2008, 05:43am hrs
Senior officers of Kolkata Police had intervened in the marriage of graphics artist Rizwanur Rehman and Priyanka Todi, as alleged by Rehman's family, the five officers involved in the case virtually admitted today for the first time in the High Court.

Since the mysterious death of Rehman on September 21 last year, the police version had been that it had been merely acting on a complaint filed by Rehman and his wife about a threat to their lives and a separate complaint by Priyanka's father Ashok Todi that his daughter was missing.

The public outcry over the alleged police interference which was suspected to have led to Rizwanur's unnatural death ---- had forced the government to transfer the then commissioner, Prasun Mukherjee, deputy commissioners Gyanwant Singh and Ajay Kumar, assistant commissioner Sukanti Chakraborty and sub inspector Krishnendu Das.

On Thursday, Samaraditya Pal, counsel for the five tainted officers, told the Calcutta high court that his clients had called the couple to the Lalbazar police headquarters on three occasions --- September 1, September 4 and September 8.

Justice Dipankar Dutta, hearing the petition filed by Rizwanur's family, had asked Pal about the role of the police in dealing with Rizwanur and Priyanka. Pal replied that the police officers were acting on two separate complaints.

Justice Dutta then wanted to know how the police had dealt with the complaint filed by the couple, and how it had accepted Todi's complaint when the officers were aware of the couple's whereabouts and the fact that they were legally married.

Pal said: "Police often plays a role of counsellor or arbitrator to sort out family problems. This was a case of inter religion marriage and the police tried to settle the family dispute."

Justice Dutta then wanted to know the intentions of the police --- were they were acting to separate the couple as desired by Priyanka's father Ashok Todi

Pal is scheduled to make his reply on Friday.

Earlier, Pal had contented that the media had distorted the comments made by Prasun Mukherjee at a press conference. According to Pal, Mukherjee had never stated categorically that Rizwanur's death was a case of suicide.

To this, Justice Dutta asked Pal to place the video footage of the press conference before the court.

Pal also sought to raise the point that Priyanka Todi should have been made an added party in the petition filed by Rehman's family.

When Justice Dutta asked for the complaint lodged by Rizwanur and Priyanka, the counsel for the police officers said it had been submitted to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Justice Dutta told Pal to list before the court the facts of the happenings between August 31 (the day Rizwanur and Priyanka lodged a police complaint) and September 21 (when Rizwanur's body was found).