After 24 years of his death that sent shockwaves across the country, the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) has concluded that iconic silver screen actor Salman Shah was not murdered, but died by suicide in 1996.
PBI chief, DIG Banaj Kumar Majumder made the disclosure at a press briefing yesterday, pointing out five reasons behind Salman's death.
"One of the reasons behind his death was his romantic relationship with film star Shabnur that led to a familial dispute," Banaj told reporters.
The other reasons PBI found are: conjugal feud between Salman and his wife Samira Haq, several prior suicide attempts, a complicated relationship with his mother, and marital problems due to not having children.
No proof was found even after a third investigation into the case to substantiate that Salman Shah was murdered, according to the agency.
Shahriar Chowdhury Emon, who took the screen name Salman Shah and saw a mercurial rise to popularity among filmgoers in the 1990s, was found dead at his Eskaton Road residence on September 6, 1996 at the age of 25.
His father Kamaruddin Chowdhury had filed an unnatural death case.
In 1997, one Rezvi Ahmed alias Forhad, a fan of Salman, was arrested in the case, turning it from "unnatural death" to "murder".
Rezvi, however, later withdrew his confession given before the police.
Detective Branch and Criminal Investigation Department of police, and a judicial probe body investigated the case separately and submitted reports, stating that it was a case of unnatural death, which his family rejected.
On December 7, 2016, a Dhaka court asked PBI to carry out further investigation into the case. PBI interrogated 44 people including Shabnur and Samira. Testimonies of 10 people were recorded under section 164 of the penal code, the police official said.
Sources at the PBI said Shabnur was summoned three times to the PBI in the last two and a half years. "She told the investigators that the relationship between her and Salman was that of a co-artiste," they added.
PBI has prepared a 600-page dossier based on its investigation, and will submit the report to the court today.
About Rezvi's first statement, Banaj Kuamr said he was beaten at the police station and compelled to do so, instructed by some officers of Cantonment Police Station.
He added that Rezvi is now staying in the US, and refused to come to the country for a testimony.
Asked, the PBI official said the then Cantonment police officers later faced departmental punishment.
About the suicide note, he said a DB official got a suicide note written in a diary, from Samira. "CID conducted the forensic test of the writings and found it was written by Salman," added Banaj.
In 2017, Rabeya Sultana Rubi, a US expatriate, shared a video on social media claiming that Salman was murdered. However, the PBI official said that they received medical proof from the US stating Ruby had been going through a psychological disorder.
The PBI official said they conducted the investigation taking into account all of the queries of Salman's mother.
"We can't satisfy all," said Banaj.
Shabnur, a popular film actor of the 90s, rejected the PBI's conclusion of involving her name in Salman's death.
Talking to the Bangla daily Prothom Alo over phone from Australia yesterday, she said, "If Salman had died by suicide, why did he do it for me? It's nasty to involve my name in this connection."
"Salman was my co-worker. He was like my friend and brother, nothing else," Shabnur told the Bangla daily.
Talking to reporters, Shafiqul Haque Hira, former captain of the national cricket team and late Salman's father-in-law, said, "Many people said many things, but PBI conducted the investigation thoroughly and finally reported that Salman died by suicide."
"We are happy with this report ... because we knew my daughter was not involved in the incident," he added.
Rejecting PBI's report, Salman' mother Neela Chowdhury told reporters if her son had really killed himself, then Samira and Shabnur are both responsible for Salman's death.
She said they would go to the higher court for justice.