Maharashtra government has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court verdict acquitting Bollywood superstar Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case. One person was killed and four others were injured in the accident. The Special Leave Petition (SLP) contained 47 grounds to assail the high court’s verdict and sought restoration of the trial court’s decision by which the 50-year-old actor was convicted and sentenced to five-year-jail term.
In its petition, the state government has contended that High Court erred in not appreciating the prosecution evidence. Among the “errors” committed by the high court was non-consideration of evidence of complainant Ravindra Patil, former police bodyguard of Salman, in its “proper perspective”.
“The trial court’s order convicting Salman Khan was correct and should be upheld,” chief public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde said.
Referring to the grounds, the Maharashtra government in its appeal filed before the apex court argued “There is no variance in the version of the complainant in the FIR, supplementary statement and the deposition. Ravindra Patil reiterated the contents of the FIR to the effect that it was the respondent (Salman) who drove the car in drunk condition in rash and negligent manner. Ravindra Patil stuck up to his version as per the FIR and supplementary statement”.
It also said that the high court had not considered the post mortem report conducted on deceased Nurullah Mehboob Sherif which mentioned that his upper part of the body was crushed completely.
“The postmortem report makes it clear that as the vehicle in question was run over on the body of Nurullah, he suffered multiple crushed injuries over his head, neck, chest and abdomen,” the appeal argued.
Among other grounds, the petition added, “High Court has erred in brushing aside the alcohol examination certificate and the evidence of the assistant chemical analyzer just because there was some alleged delay in taking the blood samples and for sending it to the chemical analyzer”.
Referring to the statement of a prosecution witness, the petition said the high court had not given credence to his evidence that Salman was caught by some people as he was drunk. The petition also referred to the “evidence” of 27 witnesses.
“The accused ventured to make a false defence that the victim died due to crane crash and the vehicle fell down on the person of the victim,” it said.
The high court, in its verdict passed on December 10 last year, had held that prosecution had failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the actor was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and was drunk.
The judgement by the high court had come on an appeal by the superstar, seven months after he was pronounced guilty by trial court of running over five people sleeping on a pavement outside a laundry in suburban Bandra with his Toyota Land Cruiser, killing one and causing injury to four others on October 28, 2002.
(With inputs from the PTI)