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2002 hit-and-run case: Surviving eye-witnesses not cross-examined, says Salman’s lawyer

On May 6, Salman Khan was convicted on charges of culpable homicide, not amounting to murder, in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which one man had died and four had been injured.

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ACTOR Salman Khan’s lawyer said on Tuesday it was a” curious thing” that on the last day of the cross-examination of the chemical analyser, the prosecution decided to use Ravindra Patil’s evidence, who was the “key witness” in the actor’s hit-and-run case, instead of bringing in the surviving witness.

On May 6, Salman Khan was convicted on charges of culpable homicide, not amounting to murder, in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which one man had died and four had been injured. The prosecution’s case is that the actor’s white Toyota Landcruiser ran over men, sleeping on a pavement in suburban Bandra. Justice A R Joshi is hearing the actor’s appeal against five years of conviction by sessions court on a daily basis.

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Saying that while the prosecution admitted that Kamal Khan was in the car, “instead of taking steps to secure Kamal Khan’s examination, they decided to make Patil’s testimony admissible in trail court, Desai added, “It is a curious thing that on February 23, 2015, on the last day of the cross-examination of the chemical analyser, the prosecution decided to resurrect Patil’s evidence and did not consider bringing before court the surviving eye witnesses in the case.” He also pointed out that Patil is the first informant and a main eye-witness but was the last witness to be examined which was contrary to Supreme Court directions.

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Ravindra Patil, Salman’s police bodyguard later died of tuberculosis. Patil was the first to inform police about the accident, and it was based on his statement that an FIR was registered at Bandra police station.His testimony in the magistrate’s court was made admissible in the trial court and was the basis for the actor’s conviction. Desai said that they were deprived of cross-examination of Ravindra Patil and Kamal Khan adding that the cross-examination of other witnesses would have discredited Patil.

Raising questions about who was driving the car during the night of the incident and whether Salman was drunk, Desai said “On the issue of Salman driving the vehicle, none of the 27 witnesses can say that the really saw him driving. There is no documentary evidence to prove he was driving,” said Desai, adding that no reliance could be placed on the results of the blood samples to show he was drinking.

“This testimony on alcohol must necessarily fail on the basis of admissibility and probative value. The problem is that it involves a celebrity and is based on a perception that he had gone to party, had drinks and was driving,” added Desai.

First published on: 14-10-2015 at 02:14:09 am
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