Bombay High Court orders removal of Salman Khan's name from custodial death plea

The Bombay High Court has ordered the removal of Salman Khan's name from a plea concerning the custodial death of Anuj Thapan, one of the accused in a firing case involving the actor. Anuj Thapan was found dead on May 1 inside the toilet of the crime branch police lock-up, with police officials claiming it was a suicide. However, his mother, Rita Devi, alleged foul play and filed a petition on May 3 seeking a CBI probe into his death.

In a significant development, the court directed petitioner Rita Devi to delete Khan's name from the plea. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Shyam Chandak stated, "Delete his name. Petitioner seeks leave to amend the petition to delete the name of respondent 4 as there is no pleading against him and no relief sought against him."

The bench questioned the inclusion of Khan's name, noting that he was not a necessary party in the case. "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.

Despite this, Rita Devi has requested the High Court to direct a CBI probe into her son's death, alleging he was "physically assaulted" and "tortured by the police" in custody. The court emphasized that the focus should remain on the main issue of Thapan’s death and not involve Salman Khan unnecessarily.

Thapan’s advocate, Nishant Rana, argued that while they were not seeking any relief against Khan, he should still be part of the CID probe into Thapan's death. However, the bench maintained that it was the responsibility of the investigating agency to decide on this matter.

The court also mentioned that including Khan in the plea was diverting attention from the core issue. "Your (petitioner) focus should be on the main issue. By doing this, you are digressing from the core issue which should be your concern," the bench stated.

Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde informed the court that a magistrate inquiry had been initiated according to the law, and a status report of the CID probe was submitted. The petitioner’s lawyer revealed that the magistrate had issued a summons to the petitioner to appear on May 23rd to record her statement, but she received it only on May 24th.

The court responded by instructing the magistrate to issue a fresh summons to the petitioner, ensuring it is served promptly so she can appear. The court has scheduled the matter for further hearing in six weeks.

In connection with the firing incident outside Salman Khan's house, Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal were arrested from Gujarat, while Anuj Thapan and another individual were arrested from Punjab on April 26th.