The prosecution Thursday concluded its arguments in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan. Citing the Supreme Court order in the Sanjeev Nanda hit-and-run case, it said the accused should be convicted for the crime to curb increasing drunken driving cases. The prosecution had earlier argued that the actor was drunk while driving, which resulted in the accident.
On May 6, the sessions court convicted Salman Khan of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the hit-and-run case that left one person dead and four injured and sentenced him to undergo five years’ jail term. Justice A R Joshi of the Bombay High Court is hearing the actor’s appeal against the conviction on a daily basis.
According to the prosecution, Salman’s white Toyota Land Cruiser ran over men sleeping on a pavement in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.
Chief public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde cited the Supreme Court’s orders in the case of Sanjeev Nanda who was convicted for two years in a similar case in Delhi and said, “Drunken driving has become a menace to our society. Every day, drunken driving results in accidents and several human lives are lost… Late night parties among urban elite have now become a way of life followed by drunken driving…”
Senior defence counsel Amit Desai, however, challenged the entire premise presented by the prosecution, stating that the “evidence” was riddled with omissions and contradictions. Once Desai is done with his arguments, the court is likely to start dictation of the order.
Taking up the argument of Salman being drunk, Desai said the testimony of the prosecution star witness Ravindra Patil had been given up and the prosecution had done nothing to secure the presence of singer Kamaal Khan who was in Salman’s car throughout till the accident took place. “They did not put (Salman’s brother) Sohail Khan in the box who has been cited as a prosecution witness,” said Desai. He added that there was no evidence to prove this point “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Desai pointed out the state’s “casual attitude” on the issues of sealing the blood samples and delivering them to the chemical analyser without following proper procedure. “The person who delivered the sample from J J Hospital to the police station was not even examined because he was untraceable. He is crucial as he could have gone somewhere and then come to Bandra,” he added.