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HC asks Salman to be present in court during verdict

Salman-Khan

Mumbai: As the fate of Salman Khan’s appeal against conviction in the 2002 hit-and-run case is expected to be delivered later in the day, the Bombay High Court today asked the Bollywood star to be present in the court.

Justice A R Joshi, who heard Khan’s appeal against the five-year sentence awarded to him by a sessions court on May 6, insisted on Salman’s presence at the time of announcing the verdict.

Salman’s lawyer Amit Desai said the 49-year-old actor will come to the court between 1 and 2 PM and that necessary security arrangements be made for it.

The judge has for the past three days been dictating the verdict in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Salman Khan. On September 28, 2002, the actor’s car had rammed into a shop in suburban Bandra. In the mishap, one person was killed and four others injured.

The High Court yesterday observed that prosecution had failed to prove that the actor had consumed liquor and was driving the Toyota Land Cruiser when the mishap occurred.
Justice Joshi also expressed doubts over the statement of key eyewitness Ravindra Patil, former police bodyguard of the actor, recorded by a Magistrate, in which he had implicated the actor.

The Judge said that he (Patil) was a wholly unreliable witness because he had made improvements subsequently in his statement given to a Magistrate. In the FIR filed soon after the mishap, he did not implicate Salman but in the statement he said that Salman was driving under the influence of liquor.

The Judge also expressed a view that the prosecution should have examined Kamaal Khan, singer friend of Salman, who was with him in the car when the mishap occurred on September 28, 2002.

As far as the deposition of Ashok Singh, the family driver of Salim Khan, is concerned, it was as per rules and laid down procedures of criminal law, the court said.

“….this court has come to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to bring material on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant (Salman Khan) was driving and was under the influence of alcohol, also, whether the accident occurred due to bursting (of tyre) prior to the incident or tyre burst after the incident…,” Justice Joshi remarked.

The court made these observations while dwelling upon citations of the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court in a similar case pertaining to Alister Pereira and the applicability of section 304, Part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) under which Salman was convicted.