Salman walks free: Ravindra Patil's mother still hopeful of justice
“It is only the court of man that has denied us justice today. We may get justice in the court of the almighty someday, and we shall witness it,” says Sushilabai, grieving mother of the dismissed late police constable
“It is only the court of man that has denied us justice today. We may get justice in the court of the almighty someday, and we shall witness it,” says Sushilabai (70), grieving mother of the dismissed late police constable Ravindra Patil, who was the former bodyguard of actor Salman Khan.
Ravindra Patil’s mother Sushilabai (70) with her grandchildren Mansi Patil (19), who is pursuing her diploma in computer engineering and her brother Prashant Patil (17), a Std XI student. Pic/Manesh Masole
Khan was acquitted on Thursday in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which one person, Nurullah Mehboob Sharif, was killed and four others were injured. “We lost our source of livelihood,” said Sushilabai. “What did we really get? Around Rs 10,500 which was Ravindra’s Provident Fund money. The police force dismissed him from service and did not bother about my son or his family,” she says, wiping her tears.
Speaking to mid-day from their Mahindale, Sakri Road residence in Dhule, Virendra Patil (48), elder brother of Ravindra, who works as a hawaldar with the State Reserve Police Force, Dhule, said, “I came home for lunch on Thursday, and was shocked at the verdict after watching the news on TV. Our mother, who was glued to television, could not control her tears and I switched off the TV immediately and moaned the luck of the poor whom justice gives the go-by.”
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Sushilabai added, “Nyay fakta shrimantana miltho, garib lokana nyay milat nahi, (Justice is only for the rich and the poor never get justice). Had my son (Ravindra) not been on duty that night and had the accident not happened, he would have been alive today. The accident claimed two lives — the worker (Nurullah) and my son, and both families have been deprived of justice today.”
“Though he (Ravindra) died of tuberculosis, he was fit and fine till the case and his health started going on a downward spiral after the Salman Khan incident and during the case. My mother believed it was Salman Khan and the stress of the case that led him to become heavily dependent on alcohol, thereafter leading to deterioration of my brother’s health, and subsequently his death,” said Virendra.
He recalled that his brother was stressed out because of the case, that he kept changing his mobile phone numbers. At times, even his family could not get in touch with him for months. “Ravindra feared for his life even when he was admitted to Dhule civil hospital under the local doctor’s care. We were shocked to learn that he had pulmonary tuberculosis and he finally died a lonely death at the municipal tuberculosis hospital in Sewri,” said Virendra.
“My son is a martyr for me, he was not a hypocrite. He stood by his statement till the end and the entire country heard it,” said Sushilabai. Interestingly, Kailash Patil, Ravindra’s second elder brother is also a police constable attached to the Mumbai police; he had deposed in the Sessions court during the trial.
Ban on Salman
The Patils have banned all Salman Khan movies and television programmes at home since the day of the accident. “We and other residences in our locality do not watch any Salman Khan movies or television programs; we are annoyed and hurt,” said Virendra.
“Today’s judgment has only proven that a famous and influential celebrity can go to any extent to prove himself innocent. Had Ravindra Patil been alive today, things would have been different,” said a close friend of Ravindra Patil, who is attached to the Mumbai police, requesting anonymity.
Ravindra had taken an emergency loan of Rs 70,000 on July 10, 2004 and another personal loan of Rs 34,300 on September 29, 2007 from the Police Co-operative Credit Society, Naigaon Police Headquarters. As per the records, he had cleared only Rs 59,013 and still owed Rs 45,287 to the Cooperative Credit Society, which was later cleared by other constables.
An elected representative of the credit society said, “Soon after Patil’s demise, his entire balance loan amount was waived off using the funds from the ‘ganga jaali’ account, where member-constables contribute R50 towards the said account and the fund is used to clear such bad debts, when a constable dies before clearing his loan account.”
Read more stories on the 2002 hit-and-run case