2002 hit-and-run case: The real reason victim's kin haven't got compensation

While Mumbai's conscience keepers critique the 'system' for the 2002 hit-and-run victim Nurullah Shaikh's family members awaiting compensation, the latter can't decide who should get the moolah

While the widow and son of Nurullah Shaikh, the man who was killed in the 2002 hit-run-case in which actor Salman Khan was acquitted on December 17, are upset with the Bombay High Court’s ruling, they are also unhappy about the way in which the matter of compensation has been dealt with.

Late Nurullah Shaikh’s son Firoz (in white) with mother Begum Jahan, holding Firoz’s son in her lap, at their Malvani home. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Late Nurullah Shaikh’s son Firoz (in white) with mother Begum Jahan, holding Firoz’s son in her lap, at their Malvani home. Pics/Nimesh Dave

Though Khan has been acquitted of all charges in the case, the money he deposited as compensation is yet to be disbursed. Nurullah’s wife Begum Jahan told sunday mid-day that she has not received compensation from either the court or the actor or his associates.

Begum Jahan’s second husband Mohammed Haroon Khan
Begum Jahan’s second husband Mohammed Haroon Khan

Shaikh was killed and four others injured on September 28, 2002, when a Land Cruiser in which Khan was present rammed into a bakery on Hill Road in Bandra. As per a 2002 Bombay High Court order, Khan deposited Rs 19 lakh with the court, of which Rs 10 lakh was to be given to Sharif’s legal heirs. This, however, hasn’t happened because there are more than one claimants.

An agreement of marriage between deceased Nurullah Shaikh and Begum Jahan dated 1982 and a document of marriage registration (Tamil Nadu).
An agreement of marriage between deceased Nurullah Shaikh and Begum Jahan dated 1982 and a document of marriage registration (Tamil Nadu).

Claiming the body
Jahan, who got married to Nurullah in 1982 in the Kandli area of Chennai and later moved to Mumbai, told this paper that her husband’s brother, Rahmatullah had given a statement to the Bandra police that Nurullah didn’t have any relatives, and so, his mother, Bibi Jaan, should receive his mortal remains.

When Jahan found out about her husband’s death, she says, she approached the police station and informed the officials about her existence. It was only then that she received her husband’s body. It was Rahmatullah, however, who performed the last rites.

Jahan also said that during the trial period, her mother-in-law and Rahmatullah had filed a case claiming part of the compensation. Though she had hired the services of advocate AA Hamdani, Jahan claims she hasn’t received a single paisa.

All documents in
Jahan says in 2002 she had submitted documents — nikahnamah and identification to show her relationship with Nurullah — to Hamdani, who represented her at the Bombay High Court, but she has little idea of the details of the proceedings. Six year’s after Nurullah’s death, Jahan had a nikah with Mohammed Haroon Khan, with whom she now has a family.

“The advocate would call me for hearings and I would sit on the bench outside the courtroom for the entire day. He would send me back without even making me speak,” said Jahan, who is a daily wage worker at a garment factory.

While, there have been reports that the compensation money has been given to Rahmatullah, Jahan’s 26-year-old son Firoz said he has no knowledge of it. This is a claim that Rahmatullah too refutes. Firoz, who works as a construction labourer, said he had been open to sharing the compensation amount with his grandmother, but since she passed away in 2014, it’s only he who deserved the money.

Firoz added that Rahmatullah found out from Hamdani that the family would soon get their compensation. Of this Rs 2 lakh would be provided to Rahmatullah, and Firoz would receive the remaining amount. On the question of challenging the HC verdict he said, “I need justice and if somebody came forward to help us, we will definitely go to the Supreme Court.”

The uncle speaks
Rahmatullah told the newspaper, “We have been running around various government offices for the last 13 years. My mother Bibi Jaan applied for an accidental insurance of Rs 10 lakhs. After her death, my name was put on the application as per the advice of advocate Ibrahim Mullah.

“Mullah informed us that if the value of the insurance is higher or equal of Rs 10 lakhs, the nominees need to spend Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 for court related documentation. My financial condition doesn’t allow me to do this, so I requested the lawyer to pay from his side and assured him that I would return the money after getting the compensation.”

The advocate, he said, took Firoz’s signature on this after two years, but there has been no progress. “In between, we were called to court several times which also stopped after a certain time without providing us anything. Whenever we inquired about the money, we were told to be patient.”

He added that the family had sold its house in Bharat Nagar, Bandra, and shifted to Aurangabaad (Khuldabaad) district where he started working as an auto driver. He believes that when the compensation is disbursed, it should come to him alone.

One of the lawyers from DSK legal team, which was representing Salman Khan, said, “The compensation that was asked by Bombay High Court was deposited by Khan immediately. The family of deceased person has its own disputes. Also, their legal team has not been able to establish the proof of relation with Nurullah. Besides, too many people are laying claim on it.” Interestingly, Firoz’s lawyer Hamdani is clueless about whether the family has received any compensation. “I will have to check. Some people say they have received it, some say not.”

Since last week, the court ruled that Khan was neither drunk nor driving the car, we asked noted advocate Majid Memom, if he is expected to pay compensation at all, and if the amount would be returned. “Had Khan deposited a fine, it would have been returned to him. However, that is not the case here,” he clarified.

— With inputs from Sailee Dhayalkar

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