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Re-trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan began Monday after a witness, traced by the police after years, deposed before a Sessions Court.
The witness, who hails from Karnataka, told the court that a “big car” was involved in the accident and police had reached the scene along with him.
Four witnesses, who went missing for years together till traced recently by the police, are crucial for the prosecution. Their deposition has become more significant given that the actor’s police bodyguard, constable Ravindra Patil, who had testified that Khan was drunk at the time of the accident, died of tuberculosis in October 2007.
The Bandra police said they traced one of the witnesses to UP, who led them to the others in the state. They were then issued summons in person and were told to be present in the court on Monday.
One of the four witnesses, Samba Gowda, told Sessions Judge D W Deshpande on Monday that the police had performed the panchnama and seized articles from the scene of the accident in his presence. He told public prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar that the car had rammed into the shutter of a shop and he had seen glass shards and parts of the car’s bumper lying at the spot.
The court had asked the investigating officer (IO) Rajendra Kane to produce the articles lying with the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate at 3 pm. After the articles were not produced at 3 pm by the IO, the judge posted the hearing on May 2.
Three other witnesses, who were reportedly injured during the accident, were also produced by Kane, but they did not depose before the court as there deposition was not scheduled for today.
“I filed an application seeking exemption as Salman in not in the country and will be back on May 5,” said Khan’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde.
The court has posted the date of deposition of the three witnesses on May 6.
Salman is facing the charge of running over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group of persons sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one and injuring four others.
On March 14, 2011, the prosecution had sought enhancement of the charges from section 304-A of the IPC (causing death by negligence) to Section 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The revised section attracts a maximum punishment of 10 years as against the earlier section, which provided for a jail term for a maximum of two years.