Mumbai: Salman Khan's Appearance At Umang Upsets Police Rank
Mumbai police stray from their rule of not inviting tainted celebs to Umang and let actor, whose 2002 hit-and-run case is in the SC, perform at the event
It seems the Mumbai police this year kept aside their rule book for inviting celebrities to Umang according to which they refrain from extending invites to those facing criminal charges. They made an exception for actor Salman Khan whose 2002 hit-and-run case is in the Supreme Court.
The Mumbai police conduct background checks on all celebrities to avoid inviting those involved in a crime, to the star-studded programme. Khan not only attended the event but also performed along with actress Katrina Kaif on Sunday evening.
The guest list for this year was prepared by Joint Commissioner of Police (Admin) Nawal Bajaj and was given final approval by Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Barve, a DCP-level officer told mid-day. "I was looking at the overall arrangement of the event," said Bajaj.
"We [Mumbai police] had not banned him [Salman] from our programme. TV screens are full of artists. This programme was also organised for them [artistes] to perform and he is also an artist and the matter ends here," Barve told mid-day.
At the prestigious cultural show, the audience welcomed Khan with a huge round of applause, but a few policemen and their family members were shocked to see him. "Arey haa [Salman Khan] kasaa aala [How is he here]?" one of them said.
This is not the first time that the Mumbai police strayed from their own rules. Khan had attended the show in 2010 and 2012 too.
Khan is accused of killing one person and injuring four others while driving under the influence. A trial court had found him guilty and awarded a five-year jail term. But the Bombay High Court in 2015 acquitted him. The acquittal was challenged by the Maharashtra government in the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear it.
The invitation to Khan did not go down well with the retired officers too. Many in the police department believe that 'it might not be a slip up' as his [Salman] case had angered many, including his fans. "The final decision over the criminal case against him is still pending. Till date, he is an accused. How can we invite a tainted person to our annual function?" said a retired policeman, adding, "The state government changed last year, so certain trends will also be altered as per their choice."
Former city police commissioner Arup Patnaik said, "A few top celebrities and politicians are tainted. So, the background check of Bollywood stars is a must before inviting them for Umang else it sends a wrong message to the people." "But, simultaneously, the public should also avoid watching movies of tainted superstars".
Last year, when the MeToo movement raged, the city police refrained from inviting many Bollywood actors, directors who were accused of sexual assault. After a thorough background screening, they decided not to invite Nana Patekar, Sushant Singh Rajput, Alok Nath, filmmakers Sajid Khan, Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai, several TV actors, and others.
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