During the trial of the hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan, the Sessions court on Thursday heard the statement of the 20th witness, Dr Shashikant Pawar, medical officer at JJ hospital. The doctor testified that the actor’s breath smelled of alcohol when he had drawn blood for the test, but clinical examination had revealed he was not under the influence of alcohol.
The doctor said Salman Khan’s gait was normal and his speech was coherent
Dr Pawar was on duty from 2 pm to 6 pm on September 28, 2002, the day the hit-and-run incident took place. In his examination by Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, he told the court, “Salman Salim Khan was brought to the casualty department of JJ hospital by a policeman from Bandra police station at 2:25 pm for collection of the blood sample for the alcohol test.
During extraction of blood from Salman’s body, I noticed his breath was smelling of alcohol, his pupils were slightly dilated, his gait was normal and speech was coherent. I took verbal consent from the accused and abstracted blood from his body and asked the ward boy to seal it, according to the procedure.”
“In clinical examination, he was not under the influence of alcohol but his breath was smelling of alcohol. No abnormality was detected from his central nervous system, respiratory system. But his blood pressure was high,” he added. Since Salman was exempted from presence in the court, Dr Pawar was asked who Salman Khan was for identification. The doctor said, “He is a well-known film star.”
While he was cross-examined by Salman’s advocate, Shrikant Shivade, Dr Pawar told the court, “After clinical findings, the doctor has to give an opinion as to whether the patient is under the influence of alcohol. Slight dilation of pupils can be seen if the patient hasn’t had sufficient sleep. There can also be various other reasons for pupil dilation.
The breath smelling of alcohol was an important aspect in the case papers. But the case papers are a carbon copy of the Emergency Police Register (EPR) and I am not sure why the word ‘alcohol’, which was there on the EPR, did not imprint on the case papers.” Dr. Pawar also denied that any fabrication was done.
On September 28, 2002, Salman’s white Land Cruiser climbed onto the pavement near a bakery in Bandra, killing one and injuring four other people who were sleeping there. The actor has been accused of driving the car while being drunk. The next hearing in the case is on January 27.