2002 hit-n-run case: Arguments over, verdict date in Salman's case tomorrow

A court trying Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case will pronounce the date of verdict tomorrow after prosecution and defence concluded their arguments today

A Mumbai court will announce on Tuesday the date of the verdict in the Salman Khan accident case of 2002 after the prosecution and defence completed their final arguments here on Monday.

On the concluding day of his final arguments, defence counsel Shrikant Shivade argued that the evidence of the actor's former police bodyguard, Ravindra Patil, should not be accepted because he died and is not available for cross-examination.

However, the prosecution said enough opportunity had been given to the defence to cross-examine Patil.

Patil was a critical witness who was the police bodyguard assigned to Salman at the time of the accident and he had also filed a complaint about the mishap, alleging that the actor was drunk on the early morning of September 28, 2002 when his Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into a bakery in Bandra west, killing one person and injuring four others.

In a related development on Monday, Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande issued contempt notices to the Bandra police station and two Mumbai tabloids for recreating the 13-year-old accident and publishing its details with pictures.

The contempt notices were issued on a plea by Shivade, which was supported by special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, that at the fag end of the trial this could cause prejudice to the accused.

Shivade moved an application against Bandra police officer Rajendra Kane for recreating the scene of the accident and other things, which were published by two city tabloids on Sunday.

Gharat filed a separate application seeking action against Kane for doing an act without consulting him and pointed out that he (Gharat) had in the past warned him (Kane) against any action that could embarrass the prosecution.

In another development, social activist Santosh Daundkar filed an application in the court seeking action against police officials for perjury in the Salman Khan accident case.

He pleaded that the police had brought in a wrong set of medicos in the case to lead evidence which vitiated the trial besides resulting in undue delays.

Judge Deshpande will hear the plea here on Thursday.

The verdict date which was to be announced on Monday, has been postponed by a day in view of certain other issues before the court.

Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been facing trial for nearly 13 years in the accident case.

He has been charged under Indian Penal Code Sec. 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) which attracts upto 10 years in prison; Sec. 279 (rash and negligent driving) which stipulates six months jail; Secs. 337 & 338 (causing hurt by act endangering life and causing grievous hurt) with punishment upto two years; Sec. 427 (mischief causing damage to property) with maximum punishment of upto 2 years.

Also, Motor Vehicle Act Secs. 34 (a), (b) read with 181 (driving vehicle in contravention of rules) and 185 (driving at great speed after consuming alcohol) with punishment of cancellation of driving license; and sections of the Bombay Prohibition Act dealing with driving under the influence of alcohol which attract maximum 6 months jail have been slapped on him.

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