Judges change, years pass by and stay in Rizwanur trial remains

Twenty months have passed since the Calcutta High Court first put a stay on the trial in the high-profile Rizwanur Rehman death case. On Monday, Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia of the High Court will hear the plea challenging the filing of the chargesheet in the case for the second time in four months. But no one can say how long the bench will take to conclude hearing the petition and what will happen to the stay on the trial, which has been in force since May 2011.

More than five years ago, the body of 30-year-old graphic designer was found beside the railway tracks at Patipukur near Dum Dum station in Kolkata. It led to a huge media focus as the family of the dead youth claimed that he was murdered as he had been facing threats from police soon after he married Priyanka Todi, the daughter of Ashoke Todi, the hosiery baron of Kolkata.

After a national outcry for justice and prolong media focus that followed one probe after another and one legal battle after another from the city sessions court to High Court and to finally apex court of the country, the Supreme Court in December 2010 ordered the framing of the charges against all the accused.

Accordingly, on April 21, 2011 the ninth fast track court of the city sessions court passed an order saying Ashoke Todi, his brother Pradip Todi, his relative Anil Sarogi be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code for abetment to suicide (Section 306), criminal intimidation (Section 506) and criminal conspiracy (Section 120B). The court also ruled that Pappu, a friend of Rehman's family, be charged under the same provisions. However, it made a distinction for the three police officers — IPS officer Ajay Kumar who was then DC (DD) of Kolkata Police, former assistant commissioner of Kolkata Police Sukanti Chakraborty and Sub-Inspector Krishnendu Das — saying they would face charges for criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy and not the abetment to suicide.

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