Salman case: HC poses searching queries to prosecution

The Bombay High Court today raised several queries on the prosecution’s case and the method in which investigation was carried out against actor Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which one person was killed and four were injured.

Justice A R Joshi is hearing an appeal filed by Salman Khan challenging a sessions court order of May 6 convicting him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced him to five years in jail.

During prosecution lawyer Sandeep Shinde’s arguments, Justice Joshi asked several questions regarding who was driving the car and if the actor had consumed alcohol. While the prosecution has maintained that Salman was at the wheel, the actor in his defence had claimed that his driver Ashok Singh was driving the car.

When Shinde said the prosecution need not go into minute details, Justice Joshi said “when the prosecution and the investigating agency are not coming upto the standard to assist the court, then every minute detail has to be analysed.”

The court said the police should have examined one Yogesh Kadam, the valet parking attendant at J W Marriot hotel where Salman was alleged to have been drinking before driving off.

“The prosecution case is that every car that comes to Marriot hotel has to be valet parked. If that is so, then before valet a tag is given either to the driver or the owner of the vehicle, which has to be handed over later before taking the car. In this case, who took the tag and who gave it back later? Has any witness said that Salman gave the tag and sat in the car? Had Yogesh been examined, he would have thrown some light on this,” Justice Joshi said.

While Salman’s counsel Amit Desai has concluded his arguments, public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde is arguing the prosecution case.
Shinde pointed out to the court that there is another

witness who says that Salman sat in the driver’s seat of the car at the porch of Marriot hotel and shut the door.

However, Justice Joshi said the door must have been closed so that it does not hinder other cars from coming and going.

The court also raised queries where Salman’s friend and singer Kamaal Khan was seated in the car. “One witness in his evidence says Kamaal sat in the back seat on the right side behind Salman. But the same witness in the next sentence says Kamaal was sitting on the left side. Does that mean Salman was also sitting in the left side?”

Shinde told the court that Salman claimed to have been not driving the car only when the trial was at the fag end.

“After the accident when Salman appeared before the police then he did not say that his driver Ashok Singh was driving. When the state government invoked the provisions of culpable homicide against him, even then he did not say that he was not driving the car. He (Salman) had ample oppurtunities to put forth this claim but he did not,” Shinde said.