Calcutta HC refuses petition seeking CBI probe into death of Anish Khan

File photo for representation

File photo for representation | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday refused the petition seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the death of student leader Anish Khan. Justice Rajasekhar Mantha dismissed the petition by Anish’s father Salem Khan, seeking a CBI probe, pointing out that the court was of the view that there was no need for transfer of investigation to any third agency.

“In the instant case, the SIT itself has implicated some police officials in its investigation report, finding fault with the manner and conduct of the raid. The petitioner’s apprehension that the accused police officers would be shielded by the police is therefore devoid of merit. In the facts of the case, merely because some police officers are involved there is no need for apprehending of impropriety in the investigation or the trial as the SIT is comprised of very highly ranked police personnel,” Justice Mantha said in the order.

 Anish was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the early hours of February 19 after three policemen forced themselves inside his house at Amta in State’s Howrah district. The West Bengal government had set up an SIT to probe the death

In the order, Justice Mantha said that the investigation conducted by the SIT was “in order, as of now”. “Charge sheet shall be filed immediately. The SIT always has powers to conduct further investigation, inter alia, upon discovery of new evidence and file supplementary charge sheets, if necessary,” the order said.

‘Most plausible conclusion’

 According to the court, the submission of the Advocate General S.N. Mookherjee that the deceased died after falling from the 2nd floor of his residence is the most plausible conclusion. “Therefore, according to the Ld. Advocate General, the conclusion of the SIT that the deceased Anis Khan died after falling from the 2nd floor, is the most plausible conclusion,” the order said.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, senior counsel for Salem Khan, has assailed the investigation report alleging that the conspiracy to eliminate the victim, which is the principal reason behind the police raid, has not been addressed by the SIT.

 On the conspiracy angle, the court observed that causal connection between the said incidents and the death of the victim appeared to be rather remote. There are four FIRs registered with the Amta and Bangnan Police Station in which Anish was either an accused or substantially involved. “The incident at Ananda Niketan Vidyamandir occurred in 2017, while the dates when the incidents at Aliah University occurred have not been specifically mentioned by the petitioner. The reference to protests against land grabbing of Aliah University are equally vague. There is a long time-gap between the incidents in question and the death of the victim,” the order states. According to the SIT, the raid at Anish Khan’s house was not on the cases filed earlier in connection with a social media post on the hijab issue in Karnataka. “Given the public-spirited background of the deceased and his Facebook posts, it is quite plausible that the Howrah Police might have been on a lookout to identify and access the deceased,” the order said.

Mr. Salem Khan said that he would approach the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court challenging the order.

The death of Anish had triggered a wave of protests in the State, particularly by the student and youth wings of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 3:21:13 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/calcutta-hc-refuses-petition-seeking-cbi-probe-into-death-of-anish-khan/article65548604.ece