... And that’s not it! The court slammed them for not examining an important witness like singer Kamaal Khan and declared bodyguard Ravindra Patil’s statement partly reliable
The Bombay High Court, while dictating the session court’s verdict on the 2002 hit-and-run case for the third day yesterday, pointed out that the prosecution had failed to establish that actor Salman Khan was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Salman’s counsel Amit Desai and his sister Alvira Khan-Agnihotri at the Bombay High Court yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Justice A R Joshi said also it has not been made clear if the bursting of the tyre of Khan’s Toyata Land Cruiser caused the accident or vice versa. He further criticized the prosecution by saying that despite being an important witness, singer Kamaal Khan was not examined in court.
Mediapersons and Salman Khan’s fans gathered outside his Bandra residence yesterday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Why no Kamaal?
“Kamaal Khan, who was present in the car at the time of the accident, was an important eyewitness and could have thrown more light on the case but the prosecution failed to examine him saying that he was unavailable,” said Justice Joshi.
The prosecution had earlier claimed that Kamaal was not found at his address. But the court discovered that when Kamaal had asked Bandra court for permission to travel abroad, he had mentioned his new address in the application.
Patil partly reliable
The examination of the actor’s bodyguard Ravindra Patil, whose statement got Salman convicted under IPC section 304 (II) of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, was also discussed.
The court observed that if, according to Patil’s statement, a drunk Salman was driving the car at the speed of 90-100 km/hour, they should have been at the accident scene on Hill Road in 7-8 minutes but they took around half an hour to reach there.
Also, he never mentioned that Salman was drunk in his first statement. During cross-examination, he told police about driver Ashok Singh for the first time. Singh was present at the police station but his statement wasn’t recorded. The court then found Patil, who died on October 3, 2007, a partly reliable witness which came as a big setback for the prosecution.
Now, it was defence witness Ashok Singh’s turn. Despite appearing in the court after 13 years, the court said he can’t be completely ignored. Singh told the court that he drove the car from J W Marriott. When a prosecution witness said he saw Salman sitting in the driver’s seat at J W Marriott, Singh said he then came and asked Salman to let him drive.