In a remarkable twist, the Bombay high court on Thursday said, Salman Khan cannot be convicted in the 2002 hit-and-run case, adding that the prosecution has not proven the charges against the Bollywood actor.
The court has said, “On basis of evidences produced by the prosecution, the appellant cannot be convicted, no matter how differently the common man thinks.”
The court had observed that the prosecution had failed to prove that Salman was behind the wheel of the SUV and had consumed liquor when the incident happened.
Justice A R Joshi, who heard Khan’s appeal, also expressed doubts over the eye witness Ravindra Patil’s statement, recorded by a Magistrate. The judge said, Ravindra Patil (bodyguard and witness) was a wholly unreliable witness because he had made improvements subsequently in his statement given to a Magistrate.
During the dictation of the judgement, Justice A R Joshi had earlier observed that “The FIR is silent on the issue of the drunkenness of the appellant…This omission of witness cannot be considered as minor.”
Salman Khan had appealed against the conviction in the Bombay High Court in the hit-and-run case challenging the May verdict by a session court.
The Bajrangi Bhaijaan actor argued that there were four persons in the car, including his family driver Ashok Singh, who was driving the car. Against it, the prosecution claimed that there were only three persons – Salman Khan, Bodyguard Patil and singer Kamal Khan.
The actor was, in May, sentenced to five years in jail by a lower court after he was convicted of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’.
On September 28, 2002, Salman’s Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into the American Express Bakery, on Hill Road junction, in Bandra, and ran over a group of people who were sleeping. One person was killed in the accident and four others injured.