Calcutta HC rules out CBI probe into student leader Anis Khan’s death

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday said that there was no need to transfer the probe into the death of Muslim student activist Anis Khan to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the West Bengal Police to file a chargesheet in the matter and conduct further investigation as required.

Anis Khan was found dead at his home in Amta block in Howrah district in the early hours of Saturday, February 19, 2022, under mysterious circumstances. Anis was a popular student leader and a member of the Indian Secular Front (ISF), a political party formed in West Bengal in January 2021. He was a resident of Sarada South Khanpara village in Amta, Howrah district.

“In the instant case, the SIT itself has implicated some police officials in its investigation report, finding fault with the manner and conduct of 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. Any other omission or mistake in future can be addressed under the provisions of the Cr.PC”, the court ruled.

The court further underscored that the concerned Sessions Judge shall deal with the trial independently, completely uninfluenced by the observations made in this order, Live Law reported.

It was also opined that the court’s observations are only for the purpose of addressing the prayers made by the petitioner for transfer of the probe to the CBI and not for any other purpose.

“The investigation conducted by the SIT is 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 Trial Court has powers under Sections 311 and 319 of the Cr. P.C., which are wide enough to include any other matter in course of trial and find any other person than those to be named in the charge sheet to be filed,” the legal website quotes judge as saying.

The court had earlier taken suo moto cognisance of the case after terming the incident as ‘grave and shocking’. It had turned down a prayer for a CBI probe and had allowed the state government-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to continue with its probe but under the supervision of a Howrah district judge, Live Law reported.

The family members of the slain had said to Maktoob that the Bengal student leader earlier told police his “life is in danger.”

Speaking to Maktoob on the condition of anonymity, a friend of Anis said: “Anis was vocal. Sometimes too vocal for people in power. They threatened him several times in the past. They killed my friend.”