Mumbai: Salman Khan will not go to jail in the 2002 hit and run case, the Bombay High Court said today after hearing all witnesses and examining evidence produced. The high court overturned a lower court’s order and acquitted the actor of all charges in the case as it observed that there were not enough evidence to charge him.
The court, which had been reading out the verdict in the 13-year-old case since Monday, said the prosecution failed to establish that the actor was driving the car at the time of the accident or that he was under the influence of alcohol.
The court also observed that prosecution had failed to establish all charges against Salman, who was convicted and awarded 5-year jail term by a trial court on May 6. The actor had then challenged the lower court’s verdict in the high court.
Justice A R Joshi resumed reading the order in the case today and asked the defence lawyers to ask Salman to be present in the court when he announces the final verdict.
What Justice Joshi said:
- First, the investigation was conducted in a faulty manner.
- Secondly, the investigation was conducted so as to some loose ends are kept as such the benefit will have to be given to the accused.
- Lastly, it is view of this court that the trial is not proper and legal as per the settled principles of criminal jurisprudence.
- The trial court had erred in accepting the bills and its fabrication.
- It must be said that this is not a case in which prosecution has successfully proved all the charges and thus resulted in this order.
- It is well settled opinion that court has to decide a case basis of all facts and evidence brought before it.
- The law of evidence has no place for general public opinion for deciding the case at hand. Probably because of such perception is many times gathered constantly being played by media and other institutions.
- The status of truth and is as far as general public at large is concerned.
- The law of evidence is required to be adhered. The burden of prosecution cannot be forgotten.
- Bearing in mind the above principal prosecution has failed to prove all the charges
Justice Joshi had on Wednesday rejected the evidence of Ravindra Patil, Salman’s former police bodyguard and a witness in the 2002 hit-and-run case, stating that Patil’s statements were ‘wholly unreliable’.
Justice Joshi also questioned Patil’s credibility while deciding the verdict in the appeal filed by the actor against the five year jail term awarded to him by a Mumbai sessions court on May 6.
“In view of this, he (Patil) is “wholly unreliable witness”, the Judge noted while dictating his order in the court for the third consecutive day on Wednesday. The development came after the judge said that Patil’s evidence was doubtful since he later made changes in his statements to the court.
“Even if his statement has to be considered as partially reliable, there has to be corroboration in evidence which is not existing in this case,” the judge added. On September 28, 2002, the actor’s car had rammed into a shop in suburban Bandra. One person was killed and four others were injured in the accident.