Over 20 years have passed, but the death of popular film actor Salman Shah is still cloaked in mystery with many questions relating to his death unanswered.
An unnatural death case was filed right after the death of the Bangla film industry’s heartthrob hero. After many years had passed, Salman’s mother Nilufar Chowdhury recently alleged that the bereaved family was not properly consulted before the case was filed.
The mystery, however, took a new turn after Ruby Sultana, one of the 11 people accused by Salman’s mother, claimed he did not kill himself, but was murdered.
Ruby in her viral video posted on social media on August 6 said Salman was murdered by her husband Jan Lin Chan, her brother Rumi, and the actor’s wife Samira Huq, among others. The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) has geared up investigation into the incident following the video.
On September 6, 1996, the whole country was shocked upon hearing the news of Salman’s untimely death. His body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a room at his Eskaton residence in Dhaka.
Many questions unanswered
Whether it was a suicide or a murder could not be established as yet, as the investigators concerned have failed to find answers to some vital questions, raised by an investigative report of the Bangla daily Ittefaq, during their prolonged investigation.
A suicide note, apparently written by the actor saying none was responsible for his death, was found in the room, but his parents claimed the handwriting on the note was not of Salman. Handwriting analysis experts of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said Salman himself wrote the note.
The question of why the body was brought down so quickly and why there was a delay in taking the body to hospital is still unanswered.
A little bottle of sedative JASOCANE-A 20mg was reportedly found in the room. Some wet clothes of Salman were also found inside a luggage there. But the investigators failed to find answers to the questions: why the clothes inside the luggage were wet, and who took the sedative to his room.
Following his death, Salman’s personal assistant Abul and domestic workers Doly and Monwara were reportedly given shelter by the family of his wife Samira, breeding a fresh suspicion that Samira’s family might have had a hand in the suspected “murder.”
The rumour of Salman’s marriage to actress Shabnur, Samira’s absence in the funeral and his hurried burial all have caused many to point finger at Samira’s family, but the investigators have yet to unearth anything with regard to the issues.
Case and investigation
Currently, the PBI is investigating the case.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, PBI chief Deputy Inspector General Banaz Kumar Majumder said: “We are facing difficulty in investigation as most of the evidence of the case was destroyed.”
He, however, added that they were more serious about the case after it was handed over to them.
Salman’s father Kamaruddin Chowdhury filed the unnatural death case with Ramna police station. Later, Kamaruddin applied to the authorities to turn it into a murder case, alleging that his son was murdered.
After completing the investigation on November 3, 1997, CID submitted a final report to the court concerned, stating that Salman had committed suicide.
Later, Kamaruddin filed a revision case against the report. Following the case on May 19, 2003, a Dhaka court was directed to conduct a judicial probe into the case.
On August 3, 2014, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Emdadul Haque submitted a judicial probe report to the court, saying he found no evidence of the actor being killed and opined that Salman had committed suicide.
On February 10, 2015, the court ordered Rapid Action Battalion to look into the case after hearing a naraji (discontent) petition filed by Salman’s mother Nilufar against the judicial probe.
Finally, on December 6 last year, another Dhaka court directed the PBI to probe deep into the case following a no-confidence petition filed by Nilufar.
Holding a press conference in Dhaka on February 9 this year, Nilufar claimed: “Salman Shah did not commit suicide. it was a pre-meditated murder. His killers are still active to hide the incident.”
Detectives, CID and the judicial magistrate all were complicit in hiding the investigation report, she alleged.
“Generally, a person’s neck is found broken if he or she commits suicide. But this did not happen to Salman, and there were no such signs around his neck,” the mother said, alleging that he was injected sedative and then strangled to death.
“I want to see justice be done before my death,” a teary Nilufar said.
Salman’s wife Samira is now happily married to one of his friends and father Kamaruddin Chowdhury died some years back.