Salman Firing Custodial Death: Actor seeks name removal from plea seeking CBI probe

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In a fresh development in the Bollywood actor Salman Khan resident firing case, the superstar has urged the Bombay High Court to delete his name as respondent in a plea seeking CBI probe into the custodial death of one accused.

During the hearing of the petition before a Vacation Bench of Justices NR Borkar and Somasekhar Sundaresan, the actor’s counsel Aabad Ponda sought deletion of the actor’s name as respondent in the petition filed by accused Anuj Thapan’s mother Rita Devi seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into her son’s death who was found hanging in the Mumbai Crime Branch lockup where he was lodged.

Rita Devi in her petition claimed that her son was tortured in custody which resulted in his death.
Ponda while arguing for the actor, claimed that there were no allegations against Salman Khan, and yet his name in the petition was damaging his reputation as it claimed that he was responsible for the custodial death of the accused.

“The actor is in fact the victim here. Someone tried to attack him (Khan) and his house. He does not know who is behind the attacks and who have been arrested,” Ponda said.

Devi’s advocate said that they were not seeking any direction against the actor and agreed to delete his name as the respondent.

The court has asked the mother to add the State CID as respondent since it was probing the custodial death.

Pursuant to the HC direction of May 15, the police informed that they have preserved the CCTV footage of the police station where Thapan was lodged and also the call data record (CDR) of the police station and police officers concerned.

The court had also questioned the State over the post mortem (PM) report of Thapan, and noted that the autopsy report did not include diagram of injuries like the ligature marks on Thapan’s neck. It also asked whether there were any other injury marks.

Thapan was found hanging in the lock-up toilet of the Crime Branch at the Commissionerate Complex in Crawford Market on May 1.

The police claimed that he used a bedsheet to take the extreme step. The court said that the report mentioned that Thapan’s death was due to “asphyxiation”. “The same can be due to strangulation,” Justice Borkar remarked.

State advocate Jayesh Yagnik then showed a supplementary report to the Bench which mentioned injury marks on Thapan’s body including the details of the ligature marks. “Hence, the PM report was not incomplete,” Yagnik said.

The judges asked the prosecution to permit the mother to go through the report. On a court query, Yagnik said that a magistrate was probing the alleged custodial death and the inquiry was still ongoing.

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