Documents in Salman's trial go missing

Documents in Salman's trial go missing

Documents in Salman's trial go missing

Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s fresh trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case looked set for further delay with the police informing the court on Thursday that after most original statements of witnesses even the case diaries have gone missing.

The court has now directed the police to locate the documents by September 12.

Police informed the court for the first time that the case diaries have disappeared. Earlier, they had told the court that only 7 of the 63 original statements of witnesses were traceable, although true copies were available.

Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade contended that as per law the original papers were required to be produced before the court for the trial to proceed, while the prosecution argued that in accordance with the established practice in Mumbai courts the trial can go on with the true copies.

Sessions judge D W Deshpande asked police to inform the court about their line of at the next hearing. It would then verify what documents the prosecution and defence have and whether it will be appropriate to proceed with the trial on the basis of those.

According to police, the original papers were kept in a magistrate’s court where the trial was held since 2001. However, most of the original statements of the witnesses and case diaries could not be traced after the trial was shifted to the sessions court.

The case, dragging on for over a decade, had taken a twist when the magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court as cases under that offence can only be tried by a higher court.