State Govt challenges Salman Khan's acquittal in SC

PTI12_27_2015_000022B On May 6 last year, a sessions court had convicted Salman in the case in which one person was killed and four others were injured when his vehicle had crushed them when they were asleep on a pavement outside a laundry | PTI

Maharashtra government on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court verdict acquitting Bollywood superstar Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which one person was killed and four others were injured.

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.

The petition filed through state's standing counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar said that 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".

Sandeep Shinde, the chief public prosecutor who has been associated with the case, said in the SLP, it has been stated that the high court has erred in not appreciating the prosecution evidence.

"The trial court's order convicting Salman Khan was correct and should be upheld," he said.

Referring to the grounds, the petition said, "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 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," it said.

Among other grounds, the petition said, "High Court has erred in brushing aside the alcohol examination certificate and the evidence of the assistant chemical analyser 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.

"Because of drunken condition, he fell down and after standing up he ran away from the spot," the plea said.

It also referred to the version of a steward in the Rain Bar and Restaurant who had said that at about 12 midnight, Salman and his friends had visited the bar.

While giving reference of evidence of 27 witnesses, the petition said that the high court has erred in arriving at a conclusion that the investigation was conducted in such a careless and faulty manner with scant regard to established procedure laid down in law more particularly, the procedure required for establishing the chain of evidence when the case is based on the biological evidence.

Further, it said, "the High Court has erred in holding that the investigation was conducted to loosen the prosecution case."

The appeal said the high court has "completely ignored the conduct" of Salman who admittedly did not make any attempt to report the incident to the police soon after the incident.

"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 petition was filed in the apex court against the high court's judgement acquitting Salman of "all charges", overturning trial court's order sentencing him for five years.

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.

On May 6 last year, a sessions court had convicted Salman in the case in which one person was killed and four others were injured when his vehicle had crushed them when they were asleep on a pavement outside a laundry.

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