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Probe in Salman Khan hit-and-run case had lapses, says cop

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Mumbai: A circular highlighting the blunders and breaches in the 2002 hit and run case investigations involving famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan  was issued to all the police stations in the city by the Mumbai police.

The move was aimed at preventing the discomfort caused due to losing a case involving high profile personalities.

“A circular (in this regard) has been sent to all police stations in the city,” a senior official attached with Mumbai police told reporters. “This is to prevent the embarrassment which police face following the Salman Khan case,” he said.

The circular noted 16 major lapses among several other procedural fallacies of the police.

Key highlights of the lapses were:

  • Salman assumed alcohol according to the bills accumulated from the bar. However, the bills were not collected according to the provisions of section 65 (B) of the Evidence Act.
  • The bills from J W Marriot and the vehicle’s parking bill collected by the police were not attached with the panchnama. This resulted in doubts about Salman’s exact time of leaving the bar.
  • Although Salman was available since the morning of September 28, 2002, he was taken for the medical examination only in the afternoon.
  • Salman’s blood sample was collected at the J J Hospital. However, the blood sample of the deceased was taken at the Bhabha Hospital.
  • The blood samples were stored in the police station for two days before taking them to the forensics on September 30, 2002. Therefore, the court suspected that the samples could have been tampered or not stored properly. This lead to the doubts about the biological report being trustworthy.
  • The statement of the constable who brought the samples was not recorded while the investigation was taking place.
  • In spite of the fact that 6 ml of blood was extracted from Salman. Only 4 ml of it was received by the lab. Moreover, no examination of the clerk who received the samples was conducted.
  • No verification of the medical papers done by the investigating officer.
  • Section 66 (i) (b) of Bombay Prohibition Act wasn’t framed despite such irregularities.
  • There was no record of statements by the witnesses. Nobody stated that Salman was driving the car.
  • The defence presented bursting of a tyre as the cause of the accident. However, cross-checking of the claim wasn’t conducted by sending the tyre to the forensic lab.
  • Lastly, there was no interrogation conducted of singer Kamaal Khan, who was available for it.

The 50-year old actor was acquitted of all charges by the Bombay High Court.

Senior officials from the city asked other officers to present future cases void of loopholes, taking a cue from the Salman Khan case. (picture courtesy:newsworldindia.in)(Inputs from Agencies)

 

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Indian Hospitals are using cameras, tags, lasers to curb Baby trafficking and theft

Indian hospitals are educating their staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide

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Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports
Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports. VOA

Hospitals in India are starting to tag newborns, mothers, and medics as well as installing extra security cameras and educating staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide.

Officials said this was part of a drive starting at government hospitals in southern Tamil Nadu state to ensure nurses, doctors and visitors know of the threat of babies being stolen from maternity wards and babies being sold illegally for adoption that is baby trafficking.

At the Rajaji government hospital in Madurai, the first in Tamil Nadu to introduce the program, laser beams at exit points trigger alarms if untagged adults take babies out in order to curb baby trafficking.

“We just want to prevent the theft of babies,” N.K. Mahalakshmi, the doctor in charge of laser tagging at the hospital, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is not fool proof but a deterrent. … Our hospital staff has also been told to be extra vigilant.”

Traffickers, officials sometimes collude

Campaigners have raised concerns that traffickers are often colluding with officials to steal babies from maternity wards and illegally sell them for adoption which is baby trafficking.

Mumbai police arrested a gang for convincing single mothers to sell their babies last year, while in West Bengal police found newborns being stolen from mothers in medical clinics after staff told them that their babies were stillborn.

Dev Ananth, a child protection officer in Tirunelveli district, said the state government is investigating several cases where hospital staff persuaded mothers to sell their babies for about 10,000 Indian rupees ($156).

Tirunelveli district will put posters up in every hospital, alerting pregnant women, families, and staff to the dangers of baby trafficking in overcrowded corridors.

“Many don’t see it as a trafficking issue,” he said.

“We are going to train hospital staff to identify potential cases, including what to do if a baby is abandoned at birth. At present, the do’s and don’ts are not clear.”

No official data on baby trafficking

There is no official data on the number of babies stolen from hospitals in Tamil Nadu, but almost 180,000 children were born in government facilities in 2016, statistics show.

More than four out of 10 of human trafficking cases in India in 2015 involved children being bought, sold and exploited as modern-day slaves, according to crime figures.

“Public hospitals are vulnerable spaces where there are no effective ways to monitor access to newborn babies,” said Paul Sunder Singh of the children’s charity Karunalaya. (VOA)