Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court today upheld the West Bengal government’s decision to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Anis Khan death mystery. Simultaneously, the court has also accepted the state government’s request for a second post-mortem of the deceased student leader’s body, thought it has stipulated that the post-mortem is to be conducted under the supervision of the Howrah District Court magistrate.
On Monday, the high court had begun suo motu proceedings in the case in response to statewide protests following Anis Khan’s mysterious death late last Friday at his residence in Howrah. Instructing the state to submit a report on the Anis Khan death mystery within three days, Justice Rajashekhar Mantha had scheduled a hearing today.
Appearing on behalf of the state. Advocate-General Soumendranath Mukherjee submitted that all the members of the SIT were experienced investigators, with several years of CID (Criminal Investigation Department) work behind them, In addition, they were being assisted by seven experts from different fields, he said.
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Reacting to the argument, Justice Mantha declared that the SIT would carry out the investigation into 28-year-old Anis Khan’s death, and issued instructions for a second post-mortem. Additionally, the HC has directed that the deceased student leader’s mobile should be sent to Hyderabad for testing at the Central Forensic Laboratory, in the presence of a National Informatics Centre representative. The findings of the test should be submitted to the court in a sealed envelope in the presence of a district magistrate. Moreover, the HC has also ordered the SIT to provide security to all witnesses in the case.
The Calcutta High Court’s directive is in direct opposition to the demand for a CBI probe from Anis Khan’s family, who have refused to hand over his mobile phone, which was recovered from the second-floor terrace of the family home, to the police. Anis’ father Salem Khan had declared that they would surrender the phone only if the court asked them to. Earlier, Salem Khan had also turned down the SIT’s request for a second post-mortem on his son. Reacting to the HC’s directive today, he said the family would approach the court again if required.
On February 18 midnight, Anis Khan, a student of Kolkata’s Aliah University who was one of the faces of anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests in the city two years ago, died after being pushed off the roof of his own house, allegedly by four people who introduced themselves as policemen.
On Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that two policemen allegedly involved in Anis Khan’s death, home-guard Kashinath Bera and civic volunteer Pritam Bhattacharya, had been arrested.