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June 10, 2024

Bombay High Court Orders Removal of Salman Khan’s Name from Custodial Death Petition

The Bombay High Court has mandated the removal of Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s name from a petition that seeks a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the custodial death of Anuj Thapan, an accused involved in a firing incident outside Khan’s residence.

Thapan was discovered dead on May 1 in a crime branch police lock-up, leading to allegations of foul play by his mother, Rita Devi. She filed a petition on May 3, requesting a CBI investigation into her son’s death, asserting that he had been physically assaulted and tortured by the police while in custody.

On April 14, two motorbike-borne individuals fired shots outside Salman Khan’s house in Bandra. The shooters, Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal, were subsequently arrested in Gujarat. Thapan was detained on April 26 in Punjab, accused of supplying weapons to the shooters. The police claimed Thapan’s death was a suicide, a narrative disputed by his mother.

In her petition, Rita Devi included Salman Khan as a respondent, a move the court found unnecessary. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Shyam Chandak directed Devi to remove Khan’s name from the petition, noting that no allegations or relief were sought against him. The bench emphasized that Khan, being a potential victim in the firing incident, should not be part of the custodial death plea.

“Delete his name. Petitioner seeks leave to amend the petition to delete the name of respondent 4 (Salman Khan) as there is no pleading against him and no relief sought against him,” the court ordered.

The court’s decision underlined the need to maintain focus on the primary issue—Thapan’s death in custody. The judges remarked, “By including respondent 4, the petitioner shifts focus away from the core issue.”

The petitioner’s advocate had argued for Khan’s inclusion in the state Crime Investigation Department’s (CID) probe into Thapan’s death. However, the court maintained that such decisions should be left to the CID.

The additional public prosecutor, Prajakta Shinde, informed the court that a magisterial enquiry was also underway, with a status report submitted by the CID. The court ordered fresh summons to be issued to Rita Devi to ensure her timely appearance for recording her statement, after she received the previous summons late.

The matter is set for further hearing in six weeks, allowing the petitioner time to amend the plea as directed. The court’s ruling reflects a broader emphasis on addressing the immediate concerns of custodial deaths and ensuring that petitions remain focused on pertinent issues, free from extraneous distractions.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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