Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's lawyer argued in the Bombay High Court that in accident cases, there is no legal provision to draw blood from the accused to detect the presence of alcohol unless there is evidence to show that it was required for the purpose.
The argument was advanced by Amit Desai, who represents the actor in his appeal against a five-year jail sentence awarded on May 6 by a sessions court for ramming his car into a shop in suburban Bandra, killing one person and injuring four, who were sleeping outside on pavement on September 28, 2002.
The trial court had also held that the actor was under the influence of liquor when the mishap occurred. Salman has challenged his conviction in the high court, which granted him bail and is currently hearing his appeal.
"Only one witness, who was injured in the mishap and lying underneath the car involved in mishap, had said that Salman appeared to be drunk and could not stand on his legs," said the lawyer.
Except for this and the chemical analyser's report, which said the actor's blood had tested positive for alcohol, there is no other evidence to show that Salman was under the influence of liquor, Desai argued.
He also questioned the chemical analyser's report on the ground that there were procedural lapses and said that it should not be admissible as evidence. The trial court had wrongly considered this report and the conviction on this count should be set aside, Desai argued.
The prosecution has not examined any witnesses from Bhabha hospital or those present at the site to support its theory that Salman had taken drinks before ramming his car into the shop on the ill-fated day, the lawyer further said.
The lawyer questioned the act of Bandra police, which probed the case, of taking the blood sample of Salman for the alcohol test. "Why was the blood extracted from Salman and what prompted the police to do so? At the relevant time, when the blood sample was taken, the FIR did not mention that the actor was under the influence of liquor," Desai said.
The FIR was lodged by Ravindra Patil, the then police bodyguard of Salman, who had accompanied the actor on the ill-fated day in the same car involved in accident. At that time, Patil had not mentioned in FIR about Salman driving under the influence of liquor. Then why police had drawn the blood sample of Salman, he asked.
The lawyer cited Supreme Court rulings to point out that in accident cases, blood test is not taken unless there is evidence to show that this was required for a specific purpose.
Arguments would continue on October 12.