Twenty-five years into the death of silver screen star Salman Shah, the Police Bureau of Investigation has finally submitted the charge sheet to a Dhaka court, stating clearly that the actor had not been murdered.
Salman Shah committed suicide over an extra-marital relationship with his co-actress Shabnur and a feud between his wife and family, the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) claims.
PBI Chief and Deputy Inspector General Banaj Kumar Majumder made the disclosure at a press briefing on Monday at the PBI headquarters in the capital.
Salman Shah's body was found hanging at his residence in New Eskaton Garden in the capital on the morning of September 6, 1996. At the time, police recovered a 'suicide note' from the residence. The PBI chief also reproduced the note at the press conference.
He said that after Salman's death, several investigation authorities had tested the note thoroughly.
"We also examined the note through assistance from handwriting experts and specialists. After examining the handwriting, they also identified it as Salman Shah's writing," said the PBI chief.
The note says, "I am Chowdhury Md Shahriar, Father: Kamar Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury. Address: 146/5, Green Road, Dhaka # 1215, alias Salman Shah. I promise that no one will be responsible for my death today or any day after today. Voluntarily, consciously, I commit suicide in a healthy state of mind."
Reasons found behind Salman Shah's suicide
The PBI interpreted the budding intimacy between Dhallywood superstar Salman Shah and Shabnur as the prime reason for the suicide.
The PBI also claimed that strained conjugal relations between Salman Shah and his wife Samira Haq were also responsible for prompting the actor's suicide.
In the charge sheet, the PBI mentioned that Salman Shah had made several suicide attempts earlier and was also troubled by a complicated and worsening relationship between his mother and his wife.
The investigation team also claimed that he felt a conjugal incompleteness in not having any offspring.
Monoara Begum, who was a maid at Salman's house at the time, said in her statement that Salman loved both Shabnur and Samira. Though he married Samira earlier, he wanted to marry Shabnur as his second wife.
The statement also said that Samira was opposed to Salman having Shabnur as his second wife.
Salman Shah, a popular silver screen actor of the 1990s, died mysteriously on September 6, 1996 at the age of 25.
His father Kamaruddin Chowdhury filed an unnatural death case which he later turned into a murder case when one Rezvi Ahmed was arrested from the house of Salman Shah's mother.
Rezvi initially confessed to killing the actor with the help of Salman's wife and mother-in-law and eight other accomplices. He, however, later retracted his confession as made before the police.
The Detective Branch, Criminal Investigation Department of police and a judicial probe body investigated the case separately, and submitted their reports to the effect that Salman Shah's death was a case of unnatural death, a position which Salman Shah's family refused to agree with.
On December 7, 2016, a Dhaka court asked the PBI to undertake a fresh inquiry into the case.
Contradictory statements of Samira and Shabnur
The PBI has found contradictions in the statements of Salman Shah's wife Samira and his co-actor Shabnur.
Quoting Samira, the PBI chief said that Salman Shah wanted to have a family with a second wife, who would be Shabnur. But Samira did not agree. And that was the beginning of the dispute between them.
Apart from that, Salman Shah had also attempted suicide twice in 1991, due to a dispute between his mother and Samira. Salman Shah once swallowed 90 sleeping pills and drank Savlon in order to kill himself.
For her part, Shabnur denied any intimacy and extramarital relationship with Salman Shah, said the PBI chief. According to her statement, her relationship with Salman Shah was that of an artiste with a fellow artiste in the professional sense. There had been no relationship beyond that, she told the PBI.
Salman's father-in-law satisfied with probe report
Shafiqul Haque Hira, former captain of the national cricket team and the late Salman Shah's father-in-law, said, "The PBI has done very well. Many people said many things, but the PBI did the investigation in great detail, and has finally reported that Salman committed suicide."
"We are happy with this report because we knew my daughter was not involved in the incident. We know our daughter," he added.
He also thanked those who love Samira, saying that this time everyone will understand Samira's sufferings.
Salman's family reject PBI's report too
Salman Shah's maternal uncle Alamgir Kumkum said that Salman's family has rejected the report produced by the PBI.
He told reporters, "My question to the PBI is, did they speak to Samira's aunt (maternal uncle's wife) Ruby Sultana? Could the PBI reach Ruby Sultana?"
He said, "Ruby Sultana is the royal witness in the case. She said Salman was killed. Samira removed a pouch through Ruby's son. What was in that pouch? Why wasn't she interrogated? Has the PBI tried to reach her? We will apply for a re-investigation."
Alamgir Kumkum also said, "Why did Samira's father go with me to the place of autopsy? Why did he answer the questions I was asked there? If Salman committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan, why were the fan blades straight rather than bent? Many such questions are yet to have answers."