Mumbai: Within hours of the 2012 Mantralaya fire, state officials had claimed that it will not be a problem to recreate burnt files, but the fact is that till date, it hasn’t managed to retrieve all the lost files, including that of actor Salman Khan’s 2002 hit-and-run case.
An RTI application by activist Mansoor Darvesh has revealed that the state government has lost files pertaining to the trial and expenditure of Khan’s 2002 accident.
Even after almost three years since a fire gutted the top floors of the secretariat, the state still hasn’t reconstructed all lost files. “Although the case has been under trial since 2002, and the fire had occurred in June 2012, the details with the state government are available only from September 2014. That’s over two years after the fire. Isn’t it questionable,” asked Darvesh.
Darvesh had sought details about how many and which all counsels, solicitors, advocates, legal advisors and public prosecutors the state had appointed for the case. Apart from that, he sought the total expenditure incurred since 2002 to get the Bollywood star convicted.
On September 28, 2002 the actor’s vehicle had rammed into a bakery in Bandra, killing one and injuring four others. On October 21, 2002 the Mumbai police had filed a chargesheet with Bandra magistrate’s court against Khan.
On October 6, 2003, the state had appealed in the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay high court’s order that Section 304-II of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) is not applicable in the case.
On April 27 last year, fresh trials had begun in the sessions court, and on September 11, 2014 advocate Pradeep Gharat was appointed as special public prosecutor. Still, the details about the case before Gharat’s appointment are missing in the records of the law and judiciary, as well as state’s Home department.
On May 6, the sessions court convicted Salman, who later moved the HC, where he was granted bail.
Files reduced to ash
In the 2012 Mantralaya fire, around 4.82 crore data pages were lost, which included about 63,349 files.