Salman's lawyer questions CA report alleging actor was drunk

Mumbai: The lawyer of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan today questioned in the Bombay High Court a piece of evidence in the 2002 hit-and-run case pertaining to a chemical analyser's (CA) report that alleged that the actor had consumed alcohol beyond permissible limit before the mishap.

The (chemical analyser's) report should not be admitted as evidence because of procedural lapses in drawing the blood of Salman, sealing, transporting and preserving it, said Amit Desai, senior counsel arguing for Salman who has filed an appeal against his conviction.

On May 6, a sessions court had sentenced Salman to five-year jail term on the charge of ramming his car into a shop in suburban Bandra, killing one person and injuring four who were sleeping on the pavement. The CA report at exhibit number 81 is the only piece of paper that says he has drunk alcohol in excess of the prescribed limit.

Also, an injured witness had stated that the actor appeared to be drunk because he could not stand on his legs at the mishap site, said the lawyer. "Except for this, there is no evidence to show that the actor had consumed liquor. Altogether, 27 witnesses had been examined and no one among them, except an injured person, had talked about Salman being drunk or under the influence of liquor," argued Desai before Justice A R Joshi.

"We cannot run away from the procedure when you are dealing with life and liberty of a person," Desai said. Moreover, the lawyer argued, late Ravindra Patil, the then police bodyguard of Salman, had not stated in the FIR that the actor had taken drinks before the mishap.

However, he had mentioned in his statement recorded on October 1, 2002, that Salman was under the influence of liquor. "It is also to be mentioned here that Patil's statement was recorded on October 1 only after CA (Chemical Analyser's) report had arrived at Bandra police station.

Everything is suspicious here," he said. Desai further said that procedures were not followed... the vials were not sealed properly, there is no evidence to show syringes were sterlised and also whether the vials were shaken after mixing blood with anti-coagulant and preservative. "The evidence is totally silent on these aspects", the lawyer pleaded. Arguments would continue tomorrow.

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