Salman hit-and-run case: Defence sticks to its stand, says driver did it

The final hearing in the Salman hit-and-run case has begun in the Bombay High Court; Defence requested that a restriction on the media be imposed, as the hearing would become a media trial, and Justice A R Joshi concurred

The final hearing in the Salman Khan hit-and-run case started in the Bombay High Court on Thursday. Defence started with the request that a restriction on the media be imposed, as the hearing would become a media trial. Justice A R Joshi concurred after the defence stated that in earlier cases, a few people had audio and video records of the proceedings.

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Salman Khan
Salman Khan

The judge restricted the media to report on the facts related to the case and not pass any comments; a restriction on audio or video recordings of the courtroom proceedings and court campus happenings was also imposed. Justice Joshi, while disposing of the appeal of the defence counsel Amit Desai, said, “The day-to-day reporting of factual events happenings in the court can be allowed.

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Such reporting should adhere to factual reporting, including arguments of the party; comments on arguments shall not be reported by the media. Or else it shall amount to interference of justice. There cannot be any audio or video recordings in the court or within the precincts of the court building.”

Blame the driver
Meanwhile, defence started with the final hearing and reiterated that the appellant Salman Khan was not driving the car and it was the driver, who is their witness number 1, who was driving the car. According to defence, the lower court did not believe the witness and questioned why he was presented after 13 years.

To substantiate his claims, Desai said in court, “The appellant isn’t saying he was not in the vehicle but that he was not driving it. According to the Criminal Procedure Code, the prosecution first had their witnesses, which got over on March 27, 2015 and after this the defence got the opportunity and its first witness was the driver.”

The defence stuck to the point that the sessions judge should not disregard a witness just because he was presented after 13 years. The defence counsel reiterated that the actor was neither drunk, nor was he driving the car. “The appellant was not drunk. And it’s not an afterthought. Nearly 13 hours after the accident, a blood sample is drawn, and a report is obtained to suggest that (the) alcohol content is higher than the permissible level,” Desai said.

Drunk, who?
Defence even asked if there was any eyewitness to prove if the actor was drunk. “Is there a single eyewitness to the fact that the appellant was drinking? The only witness that they brought is a waiter of the Rain Bar and manager, who said they saw him drinking, which was only white liquid.

The police picked up some four bills; in two bills the sale was some Bacardi and beer; Bacardi rum is transparent, those bills do not relate to any consumption by the appellant.” The defence counsel also claimed that the prosecution didn’t make any attempt to get actor Kamaal Khan, the other person in the car.

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Advocate M L Sharma represented Shushilabai, the mother of deceased Ravindra Patil, who wanted to intervene as a victim in the case. However, the court didn’t allow the intervention. Sharma had mentioned to the court that Patil had suffered a back injury in the accident and was a victim.

However, the court said, “The present applicant cannot have any locus to intervene. Needless to maintain, if at all there is any grievance by the mother, then it can be redressed by initiating at a competent forum, if there are allegations of any mala fide intent behind the death of Ravindra Patil.” The judge argued that Patil cannot be considered a victim, and after his death his mother also cannot be counted as one.

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