The Calcutta high court on Monday directed the special investigation team (SIT) of the West Bengal government to complete its investigation into the death of student leader Anis Khan within a month.
The single judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha said the probe should be completed impartially and without delay.
Salem Khan, the father of the deceased, has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe saying he has no faith in the state police. On February 24, Justice Mantha rejected the plea for a CBI probe and directed the family to cooperate with the SIT.
Twenty-seven-year-old Anis Khan, a former student of Kolkata’s Aliah University, was killed in the early hours of February 19.
Salem Khan alleged that three men, who were dressed like civic police volunteers, and a fourth person, who wore a police uniform and carried a rifle, came to his home at 1.10 am on February 19. Anis was thrown off the roof of his home at Sarda village in Howrah district by the three men who appeared to be civic police volunteers, Salem Khan alleged.
The SIT was formed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on February 21 with director general of police Manoj Malviya as its head.
On February 23, the SIT arrested home guard Kashinath Bera and civic police volunteer Pritam Bhattacharya who were posted at Amta police station. They were remanded in judicial custody. Both alleged that they were made scapegoats. The SIT later seized their uniforms, a rifle that was allegedly carried by one of the men on the night of the incident and two motorcycles that were used.
Debabrata Chakraborty, the officer-in-charge of Amta police station, was sent on leave for an indefinite period after he was questioned twice by the SIT.
Salem Khan failed to identify Bera and Bhattacharya in judicial custody saying he did not see the faces of the three men who rushed to the roof minutes before his son died. He said he can identify only the fourth man who was standing before him at the entrance to the house and carried a rifle.
Lawyers representing Khan’s family on Monday said the bench observed that the state police can perform as efficiently as any other probe agency or police department provided it is not influenced.
The SIT exhumed Khan’s body on February 28 for a second post mortem that the high court ordered on February 24. As directed by the court, Khan’s mobile phone was sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad for data recovery.
The court received the SIT’s preliminary report on March 11. The court had earlier ordered that copies of the SIT’s report should be given to lawyers representing Khan’s family and noted lawyer and CPI (M) Rajya Saba member Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya on whose suo motu petition the case started. The SIT, however, could not furnish any report on data recovered from the phone saying it would take another 15 days.
On Monday, Justice Mantha said the forensic laboratory’s report on the phone must be submitted within a week.
“We have no idea about the progress of the investigation. No more arrests have been made. We still feel that only the CBI can unearth the truth,” said Sabir Khan, the elder brother of the deceased.
Student and youth fronts of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI (M), and the Congress are continuing agitations demanding the arrest of Khan’s murderers.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has said that he may meet the President of India and seek his intervention.