Not proved Salman was drunk or driving, says HC

Not proved Salman was drunk or driving, says HC

Not proved Salman was drunk or driving, says HC

Signalling a major possible reprieve for Salman Khan in the drunken-driving and hit-and-run case, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday  had observed that the prosecution has failed to prove that the actor had consumed liquor and was at the wheels of the Toyota Land Cruiser Lexus.

The court also expressed doubts over the statement of police bodyguard Ravindra Patil, the first informant who lodged the FIR, and felt that the prosecution should have examined as a witness actor Kamaal Khan, a co-occupant in the car.

“This court has come to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to bring material on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant-accused (Salman Khan) was driving and driving under the influence of alcohol, also, whether the accident occurred due to bursting (of tyre) prior to the incident or tyre burst after the incident...,” Justice A R Joshi said while dwelling on citations of the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court on the Alister Pereira case and the applicability of section 304, Part II.

The dictation of the verdict on Salman Khan’s appeal is expected to end on Thursday.
On applicability and admissibility of statement of Patil, whose examination-in-chief and cross-examination was done in the Magistrate’s Court, Justice Joshi said: “When that was done, the case was being tried before the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court under section 304 A (causing death by negligence), which attracts a maximum jail term of two years or fine or both, while when it was in Sessions Court, it was under Section 304, Part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), which attracts a jail term of maximum of 10 years and fine... the applicability of this evidence tendered before Magistrate’s Court under Section 33 of Indian Evidence Act cannot be taken as fulfilled in Sessions Court as the ingredients of the offence are different.” 

On Patil’s statement, it said he has improved his statement significantly. “In the FIR on September 28, 2012,  he has not said anything about alcohol, but he mentions this on October 1.”

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