Salman Khan case: Mumbai police points out lapses in probe

Almost a month after Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was acquitted in the 2002 hit-and-run case by the Bombay High Court, the Mumbai police has issued a circular to all police stations in the city highlighting the lapses in the investigations that led to the legal defeat in the case.

The circular was sent on January 4 by Additional Police Commissioner (Crime) K.M.M. Prasanna. The circular lists 16 lapses among the several procedural lapses and discrepancies in the police case which the Bombay High Court mentioned in its judgment that quashed the case against Salman.

It is meant to serve as a guideline for police personnel for investigation of accident cases in future, especially those involving high-profile personalities. Senior officials from the city police have asked other officers to learn from the mistakes in the Salman Khan case and ensure that such lapses are not repeated in future.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has decided to appeal against the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.

The 16 points listed in the circular are as follows:

1. Bills were collected from Rain Bar in Santacruz, where the prosecution had alleged that Salman Khan drank liquor, without due certification under Section 65 (B) of the Evidence Act.

2. Bills of JW Marriott Hotel and parking tag were seized by the police but were not shown in the panchanama, creating doubts about the evidence regarding where the actor went after leaving Rain Bar.

3. There are handwritten endorsements on the computer extracts in the bills of Rain Bar, but no evidence was collected as to who took the said endorsements, and how.

4. The actor was available from the morning of September 28, 2002, for medical test at the Bandra police station, but he was only taken to JJ Hospital in the afternoon for blood sample collection.

5. While the blood sample of the deceased, Narula, was taken at Bhabha Hospital, why was the actor's blood sample collected at JJ Hospital? No explanation was given.

6. Though the blood samples had come on September 28, 2002, to the Bandra police station from JJ Hospital, they were sent to the Forensic Laboratory in Kalina only on September 30, 2002. Till then, they were kept in the police station where, the court had said, they might have been either tampered with or not stored properly.

7. A chain of custody of blood samples was not properly established and because of the missing link, biological evidence was not trustworthy.

8. Statement of the constable who brought blood samples of accused from hospital to police station was not recorded and he was not examined.

9. Important anomaly - 6 ml of blood extracted from actors body in two containers, but FDL received only 4 ml of blood.

10. Receiving clerk of FSL not examined.

11. The investigating officer did not verify the medical papers while collecting them. Blood collection reports shows many discrepancies and defects, which were admitted.

12. No charge under Section 66 (i) (b) of the Bombay Prohibition Act was framed.

13. In two places, the FIR was altered, but no explanation was given.

14. Under Section 161, statements were not recorded of witness. Nobody says Salman was driving the vehicle.

15. The defence had said that the tyre had burst, which was the reason of the crash but the tyre was not sent to the forensic laboratory to deny their claims.

16. Actor Kamal Khan was not summoned to the trial when his address was available with cops though he could have been a great witness for the police.