Prosecution should have examined Kamaal Khan: Salman’s lawyer

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s lawyer today argued in the Bombay High Court that the prosecution in the 2002 hit-and-run case, in which the actor has been sentenced to five years in jail, caused a great prejudice to him by not examining Kamaal Khan, a key witness.

Kamaal Khan was with Salman when the latter had run his car over the people sleeping on the pavement in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one and injuring four others. The defence’s case is Salman wasn’t driving the vehicle.

The prosecution solely relied on the statement of Ravindra Patil, Salman’s police bodyguard, who died in 2007, said advocate Amit Desai, the defence lawyer.

Patil was not available to Salman’s defence team for cross-examination but the prosecution chose to rely upon his statement given to a magistrate. Kamaal Khan, the singer friend of Salman, would have thrown light on who was driving the car, Desai argued.

Salman had pleaded before the trial court that his driver Ashok Singh was behind the wheel on the day of the incident.

Desai also cited Supreme Court judgements to show how Patil’s statement could not have been used as evidence in the trial.

According to the prosecution, Salman was driving the car that night, while Patil was on the left side of front seat and Kamaal on the rear seat.

Though Patil died during the earlier trial before the magistrate, the Mumbai sessions court had in May this year relied on his statement while holding that Salman was driving under the influence of liquor.

Desai argued that “evidence must be recorded in the court and evidence must be recorded in the presence of accused.”

There were two eye-witnesses — Kamaal Khan and Patil — and “in the absence of one, other should have been called,” he said.