The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Salman did not own killer car

Mumbai, Oct. 4: Salman Khan seems to be getting deeper into the quicksand of police probe, public hatred and political pressure.

The actor, who is accused of running over and killing one person and injuring four, has been ordered to surrender his passport till investigations are through. The step will not only prevent Salman from taking holidays abroad but will affect the shooting schedules of his under-production films.

But this missive from police officers, who are now at pains to show that they were not lax in pursuing the case against the star, comes with something even more serious. Police said the imported Land Cruiser that ran over five migrant labourers sleeping on a Bandra pavement was not Salman’s. The car was registered in the name of one Abdul Rahim and the police are trying to pin the real owner.

This follows the startling revelation that Salman does not have a driving licence.

Joint commissioner of police (law and order) Ahmad Javed, who has been given express instructions by deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal to get to the bottom of the case fast, said: “The Toyota Land Cruiser that Salman was allegedly driving did not belong to him.’’

The police are trying to trace Rahim and ascertain if he has valid documents for the vehicle.

The police also questioned Salman’s cousin, singer Kamaal Khan who was with the actor and his bodyguard, Rajinder Patil, during the hit-and-run. Bandra police questioned Kamaal for over three hours today. The police have already got a “statement’’ from Sohail Khan, Salman’s brother.

Sohail came under the public scanner when one of the victims in the hit-and-run said he came back to the crime scene, not to help take the four injured to hospital but to retrieve an expensive music system from the vehicle.

But even as the police try to pin down Salman, Mumbaikars are angry about “too many top stars getting away with too much’’. Many people The Telegraph spoke to today said it was a travesty of justice to let him out on a bail of Rs 950. “There are witnesses who saw the drunk star drive over people sleeping on the pavements and still the police failed to take him into custody,’’ said Nilesh Prajapati, travelling on a Mumbai local.

His colleague Rizwan added: “We were shocked when the Sunjay Dutt tapes, in which the actor was heard speaking to Chhota Shakeel, were leaked out. But what happened after that' Dutt is still partying and shooting for films. There is silence from the police and the courts. Where is justice'’’

Bhujbal has directed Ahmad to speed up the investigation into the case and probe the role of the police officials who went “slow’’ while registering a case. The report is supposed to be ready in a week.

Sensing public dismay, the BJP has demanded the suspension of the policemen involved in the initial stages of the inquiry. Blaming the force for “inefficiency and complicity’’, BJP spokesperson Prakash Jawdekar demanded the immediate suspension of the guilty personnel. “Even Chhagan Bhujbal was angry at the way the probe was being conducted and was forced to institute a high-level inquiry.”

The BJP has called for a public ban on Salman movies.

, keeping in mind “the Matheran forest land encroachment case, the black buck poaching case and his indecent behaviour with actress Aishwarya Rai’’.

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