Superfast RTO official checked Salman's vehicle in 20 minutes: Defence

Bollywood actor Salman Khan's lawyer Shrikant Shivade on Thursday questioned how the actor's Toyota Land Cruiser, which was involved in the accident on September 28, 2012 in Bandra, was examined in flat 20 minutes by an RTO officer.

Salman  Khan
Salman  Khan

"Is that possible? We now have superfast experts... medical and blood test done in five minutes, vehicle was examined in 20 minutes," Shivade told Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande in the ongoing final arguments in the retrial of the accident case.

The defence lawyer pointed out how RTO official R.S. Keskar, a crucial witness, had changed his statements over the date and time of examining the vehicle.

"Once the witness (Keskar) said he examined the vehicle on September 28, 2002, then he said September 29, 2002... He is a liar and takes recourse to lies whenever it suits him," Shivade said.

Questioning how the vehicle was examined in 20 minutes, Shivade said it takes 5-7 minutes to check the steering, 2-4 minutes for the brakes, one-and-half minutes for the tyres, 4-5 minutes to check the gear box, 10 minutes to check what is mentioned in proforma Col 4,5,6, then 3-4 minutes to check what is mentioned in Col 7, 1-2 minutes to check the spring...

"All this amounts to over 30 minutes... The witness checks the car and also conducts a test drive of half-km during the morning peak hours," Shivade said.

Moreover, he was not carrying the required proforma to inspect the vehicles and another official Imtiyaz helped with the technical details, this was the first imported car that he had examined and perhaps the last since during training he (Keskar) had examined a Tata Indica, and now a Toyota Land Cruiser - "It is like a Class II student appearing for B.Sc," Shivade said sarcastically.

He said a tyre burst had caused the accident that morning, killing one pavement dweller and injuring four others - "Once the witness says the tyres were deflated, then he says air pressure was low - what is correct? Our version is correct, it was a tyre burst," Shivade argued.

Shivade said according to a survey, 35 percent of all accidents were caused due to burst tyres.

In a shocking disclosure supported with statements, Shivade asked why it took two days to file the FIR in the case - "The RTO official said till Sunday (September 29, 2002), he was not shown the FIR and was informed it was being prepared - why this delay?"

The defence lawyer also raised questions on the "professional competency" of a chemical analyst D. Balachander and the manner in which forensic labs function in India, and discrepancies pertaining to the blood samples.

He pointed out that the blood samples of Salman were analysed at the Forensic Science Laboratory, Kalina, which neither has an ISO certification nor is accredited to the National Board of Accreditation.

Shivade argued that rules were violated in the manner in which the test was conducted, and the prosecution has failed to prove that the accused (Salman's) blood contained alcohol to the tune of 62 mg per 100 ml.

Blasting Balachander, Shivade alleged that he did not know how to conduct the tests, does not know difference between quantitative and qualitative analysis, difference between isometric and idometric tests.

"How much can we rely on him... It is like - 'I scored a century, but I don't know how to play, I don't know the difference between a bat and a ball'," Shivade said, submitting copies of Maharashtra Medical Code and Civil Medical Code to Judge Deshpande.

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