Media hitch make Rizwanur's death affair messy

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Kolkata, Oct 27: Even as the CBI continued to struggle through the intrigue of Rizwanur Rehman's death, the media race trying to take an inside peep and give new twists to the story made the whole 'affair messy.' While sleuths of the Central agency remained almost tightlipped over the progress in their investigation, the electronics media and newspapers claimed to have stumbled on new clues to the tumultuous time following the marriage of the computer graphic teacher with Priyanka, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi.

But the conflicting reports they came out with only led to denials and confusions.

Attributing it to the 'CBI sources', a Bengali news channel claimed to have possessed the recorded statement of Pradip Todi, uncle of Rizwanur's widow, purportedly admitting that huge amount of money had been transferred to separate the couple.

In a special telecast on October 23, the channel also claimed that the money was routed to one of Rizwanur's uncles through Moinuddin, alias Pappu, a realtor known to the Rehman family, while dropping in the names of two other intermediaries--Syed Hassan Ali and Majid.

While Pappu admitted to the media having been asked by the Todis to act to 'settle' the matter, he denied categorically that any amount was given to him to be handed over to Rizwanur's family.

An English daily also published an interview with Hassan, the man approached by the Todis' solicitors to meet the Rizwanur's family at their Tiljala residence in East Kolkata. Hassan, who again engaged Majid, was quoted as corroborating that the Todis had really offered through them any amount of money but their efforts to convince Rizwanur's brother and three of the six uncles went in vain. Hassan, however, alleged that he later came to know that a deal was later struck between Pappu and the Todis in his back.

But the very next day Hassan called the press to deny having been asked for making a monetary deal claiming they were only requested to 'look into' the matter. While Hassan evaded what kind of help the Todis were asking for, Majid, his aide, succumbed once to the barrage of media questions to confess to having solicited the family for a 'talaq'(divorce).

If these issues seemed to digress from the main focus of CBI inquiry whether Rizwanur was murdered or he committed suicide or it was just a case of accident, a television channel suggested that it could be a suicide as the youth was panicky and heart broken while spending the last three days of his life in his maternal aunt's home.

Giving a spin to the whole story, newspapers came out with transcription of the last SMSs and calls made from Rizwanur's mobile to the Todis, one of his students and Mr Sujato Bhadra, Secretary of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights(APDR), who he had been in close touch with Rizwanur following 'harassment and threatenings' by police after his marriage.

He made these calls and sent the SMSs from Patipukur on the city's northern fringe where his body was found beside the railway tracks on September 21.

Rizwanur also made phone calls from a nearby booth to Pompy Roy, a former girl friend, whose past relationship with him had apparently shaken Priyanka. Most of the SMSs were replete with his yearning to reunite with Priyanka and a very saddened state of mind.

After his marriage Rizwanur was said to have faced tremendous pressure from his in-laws as well as a section of police to abandon the marital relation despite the fact that the spouses were adult enough and tied the knot willingly.

The newspapers also published the facsimile of a letter Rizwanur and Priyanka had sent to a police boss intimating him their apprehension of being kidnapped by the hired goons of Ashok Todi.

However, what made things more sensational was one of the purported SMS of Rizwanur that spoke about his decision to kill himself in the next five minutes.

While the leakage of information about a case under investigation took everyone by surprise, a section of the media claimed that efforts were on from some quarters to 'plant' stories to establish a suicide theory. Probing the matter, they also concluded that there was no existence of any SMS, sent to anybody by Rizwanur speaking out his mind to commit suicide.

As CBI continued investigation, grilling a good number of people so far, the riddle turned more complex: a report appeared that a phone call came to the local police station in Patipukur from the city police headquarters at Lalbazar asking to recover a body from the railway tracks and establish the identity of the person even when it was not seen by anbody.

More intriguing was that Mr. Bhadra, who all along claimed it to be a case of murder, said that Rizwanur had called him up even five minutes before death without showing any sign of depression. The rights activist also claimed to have received a mystery call that informed him about Rizwanur's death.

Even though the investigation does not seem to be mired in the maze of so many contradictory reports and possibilities, where lies the key to unravelling the mystery, one perhaps does not know.


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