Petitioner told to remove Salman’s name from custody death plea

A division bench of the Bombay High Court directed Rita Devi, the petitioner in the case to remove Salman Khan’s name from the petition

Published - June 11, 2024 04:13 am IST - MUMBAI 

The Bombay High Court on June 10 ordered the petitioner to remove actor Salman Khan’s name as respondent in a plea seeking a CBI probe into an alleged custodial death. The man who died in custody was accused of involvement in a case filed over two men opening fire outside the actor’s house.

A division bench of judges, Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, and Justice Shyam Chandak directed Rita Devi, the petitioner in the case, to remove the actor’s name from the petition. Ms. Devi is the mother of Anuj Thapan, the person who allegedly died in police custody on May 1. Mr. Thapan’s body was found inside the toilet of the crime branch police lock-up.

The judges’ bench said, “Delete his (Salman Khan) name from the petition as there is no relief sought against him. What is the point of making a person who is supposed to be the victim a party respondent? We see no reason why respondent 4 (Salman Khan) should continue to be in this plea. He is not a necessary party.”


The court said, “You as petitioner, are concerned about the death of your son...that the court will look into...but what is the point of impleading respondent 4 in the plea? This is too far-fetched. No relief is sought against him (Salman Khan) and no averment or allegation is made against him.”

The judges’ bench also said that no averments or relief were sought from Mr. Khan in the petition. and hence there was no point in keeping the actor involved in the plea. The bench also noted that the concern of the petitioner was the death of her son, but there was no point in making Salman Khan a respondent in the plea.

Representing the petitioner, advocate Nishant Rana informed the judges bench that, while they are not seeking any relief in their plea from the actor, he should be part of the probe being carried out by the state CID into Mr. Thapan’s death. On this, the court said that it was for the CID to decide. “Your petitioner’s focus should be on the main issue. By doing this, you are digressing from the core issue which should be your concern,” the judges added.  

Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde told the court that as per law, a magistrate inquiry was also initiated and submitted a status report on the CID probe before the high court. Mr. Rana informed the judges bench that the magistrate had issued summons to the petitioner on May 10, directing her to appear before it to record her statement on May 23, but his client received the summons only on May 24. The high court said the magistrate shall issue a fresh summons to the petitioner and ensure it is served on time.

On April 14, alleged shooters, Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal opened fire outside the actor’s Bandra home. They were later arrested in Gujarat. Thapan was arrested in Punjab on April 26 in connection with the supply of weapons to both the shooters. When Thapan died in custody, police claimed it was a suicide, but his mother, Ms. Devi, refused to believe the police. On May 3, she filed a petition in the Bombay High Court alleging there was foul play and that her son did not commit suicide but was assaulted, and tortured by the police while in custody, and murdered. She appealed for a CBI probe into her son’s death. She made Mr. Khan a respondent in her plea. The court had earlier told the petitioner that the actor was not even a necessary party in the case.

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