New Delhi: Salman Khan’s acquittal in a 2002 hit-and-run case is a “travesty of justice”, the Maharashtra government argued in the Supreme Court today. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi described as “perverse” the Bombay High Court order in December, overturning the 50-year-old actor’s guilty verdict.
“Salman Khan had consumed (liquor) and was drunk, he was driving the Land Cruiser which killed a person sleeping on the pavement. He knew he should not be driving,” Mr Rohatgi said.
In May, a trial court had ruled that the actor was guilty of running over a man sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in Mumbai after a night out drinking on September 28, 2002. The high court cancelled the order and Mr Khan’s five-year jail sentence, saying that the prosecution had failed to establish beyond doubt that the actor was driving and was drunk at the time of the accident.
The court also discredited the testimony of a key prosecution witness – the actor’s bodyguard Ravindra Patil – who had said that the Mr Khan was driving drunk and had ignored his repeated warnings. Mr Patil died of tuberculosis in 2007. The Maharashtra government has challenged the high court verdict. The case will be heard next on March 12.