Rape remark: Unapologetic Salman fails to turn up before Maharashtra women’s panel

Mumbai/New Delhi: Actor Salman Khan on Wednesday did not turn up before Maharashtra State Commission for Women to offer explanation for his rape analogy to describe the gruelling shoot for his upcoming film “Sultan”, prompting the panel to issue summons for his personal appearance on July 7.

On the other hand the superstar’s reply to the National Commission for Women’s notice was dubbed by NCW as “not apologetic in tenor”. The NCW has now decided to vet Salman’s reply in consultation with legal experts before deciding on the future course of action.

Citing double jeopardy, a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges in the same case, the actor had sent a letter to the MSCW through his lawyer that since the matter was being heard by the NCW, it cannot be taken up by the state Commission.

“The Commission and its members today went through the letter given by the actor and we found it unsatisfactory. The letter says that case is already being heard by NCW and hence it would amount to a case of double jeopardy.

“But we are of the view that our state commission has been conferred with concurrent powers and the case can be heard at both the places simultaneously,” MSCW Chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar told reporters in Mumbai.

The Commission has now summoned the 50-year-old actor to appear before it on July 7, she said. In Delhi, NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam said in his reply Salman was “not apologetic” and that the panel was examining its mandate to deal with such instances and the legalities involved.

“Salman Khan has sent a reply and it is not apologetic in tenor. We now need to decide what we are going to do next. We have to look at both what comes under our mandate and what are the legalities involved…

“We are not going to give out the details of Salman Khan’s reply now. We need to first go through it in detail, along with our lawyers. Only then will both his reply and what we are going to do next will be made public,” she said.

The reply was e-mailed to NCW through Salman’s lawyer last evening, while the NCW notice was sent directly to the actor’s residence. “The reply has come from his lawyer, which means it is a legal reply. So we can’t just reply off the cuff,” Kumaramangalam said.

The state panel had sent him a notice asking him to appear before it today and explain his position on the matter. When asked what steps the Commission would take if Salman failed to turn up again on July 7, Rahatkar said, “That would be decided that day.”