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Salman cleared in Aishwarya tape case

September 17, 2005

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MUMBAI, Sept 16: A tape in which Indian heart-throb Salman Khan was supposedly heard threatening Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai with underworld retribution unless she performed a show did not contain his voice, police said on Friday.

Mumbai police said the voice on the tape was not Khan’s after carrying out laboratory investigations.

“The forensic laboratory that conducted the tests has given us a report saying the voice on the tape does not match with that of Salman Khan,” Mumbai additional police commissioner K.L. Bishnoi told reporters.

In the audio tape broadcast by television networks earlier this year, a man alleged to be Khan was heard threatening Rai, a former Miss World.

The man said she would face underworld retribution if she did not take part in stage shows sponsored by mafia don Abu Salem.

Friday’s police announcement followed an investigation ordered last July by R.R. Patil, deputy chief minister of western Maharashtra state, into the contents of the tape.

The tape was supposedly based on a phone conversation between Khan and Rai said to have been recorded by police in 2001.

After the tape was aired, both Khan and Rai declared it a fake.

Khan, known for his tough guy roles in Hindi movies who has a huge fan following, is Rai’s former boyfriend.

But his denials failed to calm Hindu right-wing protestors who demanded his arrest for a comment on the tape that he knew about a series of bomb blasts suspected to have been organised by the underworld in Mumbai in 1992.

Khan could not be reached for comment Friday.

But his father, Salim Khan, expressed joy over the police declaration that the tape did not contain his son’s voice.

“Salman and our family were pitted against some clever, dangerous people who meticulously planned to defame him and stooped to such low levels,” Khan, a veteran screenplay writer, told AFP.

Voice samples of Khan and Rai along with the recording of the phone conversation had been examined at a forensic laboratory in the northern city of Chandigarh to see whether they matched.—AFP

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