While rejecting a revision petition filed by actor Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case,the sessions court here relied on the statement of his driver,the late Ravindra Patil.
Khan had allegedly rammed his Toyota Land Cruiser into a bakery in Bandra,killing one and injuring four sleeping on a pavement.
Patil,a star witness,had tried to dissuade him from driving while drunk.
Bandra magistrate V Patil has ordered that the actor be tried under section 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder),not 304-A (causing death by negligence). If convicted under section 304-II,Khan faces a maximum punishment of 10 years.
Sessions judge U B Hejib observed,When the accused allowed his senses to lose and drove the car impatiently and in an over-zealous manner and in excessive speed,it apparently must be held that he had requisite knowledge that his act of such reckless and indiscriminate driving is likely to cause death of persons sleeping on the footpath.
Khans lawyers argued that most essential ingredient of knowledge was missing. They also said Patils statement before the court did not match with what he said at the time of registration of FIR. But the court said an FIR need not be an encyclopedia.
During trial before the magistrate court,Patil and a medical witness also corroborated a prosecution report that Khan was in an inebriated condition and that his blood sample showed alcohol.
The judge also refuted the defence argument that all witnesses were not examined in the magistrate court. Referring to Supreme Court judgments,he said the satisfaction of a judge about committal of a case can be achieved on the basis of available evidence.
It is the quality and not the quantity of the witnesses which is material for the purpose of appraisal of evidence, the court observed.