Facts of the case

·      On the night of 27/9/2002, Salman Khan along with his brother Kamaal Khan and a body guard went to a Hotel named Rain in Juhu in a white colored Toyota Land cruiser.

·      The land cruiser was driven by the actor himself. The actor reached the hotel approximately around 10 P.m. in the night.

·      The actor was joined by Sohail Khan and few of his friends. Salman and his group had ordered couple of drinks and dinner. Their total bill was of 10,000 rupees.

·      Both Salman and Kamaal came out of the hotel and went to JW Marriott and later at 2:15 the actor and his brother drove down to Pali Hill, Bandra were the mishap took place.

·      His bodyguard recalls that Salman Khan was drunk and he has asked whether the actor could drive the vehicle, but he did not even reply to the question asked by the body guard. The actor was driving at a very high speed at which point where the actor was again asked by his body guard to slow down.  The actor reached Pali Hill could not control the vehicle and the vehicle crashed to a laundry store  injuring 3 people and killing one. At that point, the accused and his brother left his vehicle and ran away. Later his bodyguard filed a complaint against the actor.

·      A charge sheet was filed with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra. The case started lingering for the reason of non-service of summons to witnesses by the police and the police putting up wrong name of the witnesses

·      Salman was arrested but was released on bail. He was later charged with section 304 II of the Indian Penal code. The actor surrendered and was arrested and later he was released on bail.

·      In the year 2003, Salman Khan challenges application of Section 304-II in sessions court, the court rejected the application. The said actor moves the application to the  Bombay high court and states that section 304 II of the Indian Penal Code is not applicable.

·      The Maharashtra government challenges the High Court order in Supreme Court and Supreme Court states that the magistrate court would decide whether Section 304 II would be applied or not.

·      It came to the notice of the petitioner that in another serious hit and run case of Nooriya Haveliwala, the case was promptly registered, investigated and the trial was concluded. However, the case of Salman Khan had not moved despite of the long period having elapsed. So the applicant had done some fact finding  and had found that the police have put up false names of doctors and had not served summons of witnesses because which the case had languishing for several years .

·      Since the facts found disclosed acts of false evidence,  the applicant filed a case in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra  under the provision  of section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. Detailed allegations of committing perjury by the police to benefit the accused Salman Khan in the case was made out.

·      The Metropolitan Magistrate issues summons to respondent No 2 and the accused.

·      Since more stringent section 304 was applied, the jurisdiction for the trial of the case became that of the session court. Accordingly, the trial of this case got shifted to the session court. While the trial got shifted, the enquiry under Section 240 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 remained with the additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

·      Since all the papers of the case got transferred to the sessions court, it was in the interest of justice that the enquiry under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 also got transferred simultaneously. 

·      It is to be noted that at this juncture, Salman Khan’s driver, during this time contented that he was the one who was driving the vehicle on the night of incidence and it was not Salman Khan who was driving the case.

·      The case turned upside down when the main witness the body guard Ravinder  Patil was no more and all the other witness had changed their statements.

·      The sessions court found Salman Khan guilty under various section of IPC and had convicted the actor.

·      The actor had appealed against the conviction order in the high court. The high court acquitted Khan in the case. Being aggrieved of the decision the Maharashtra government have pleaded in the Supreme Court.

Contentions

·      The main contention in the case was whether the Car was driven by the actor’s driver or not?

·      Whether the accident occurred due to the bursting of the left tyre?

·       Whether there was any tampering of the evidence?

·      Acceptiblity of the eveidence of Ravinder Patil under section 33 of evidence act. 

·      Whether the accused should be tried under section 304 part II or 304A of IPC?

·      Whether on non-examination of Kamaal Khan, an adverse interference can be drawn?

Judgment

The accused was acquitted in this case due to vast number of reasons:

The investigation was not conducted properly. The witnesses had changed their statement.

 The driver had contended that he was the person who was driving the vehicle and not the actor. 

The evidences or the medical test conducted on the accused were tampered with and the samples were sent late for further examination.

the appreciation of evidence done in the present matter is not proper and legal as per the settled principles of Criminal Jurisprudence. For example, it can be said without giving all the details that the trial Court had erred in accepting the Bills which were recovered without there being any panchnama and the bills altogether saddled with the fabrication.

Evidence of Ravindra Patil was not marshaled properly and the evidence to establish biological chain regarding alcohol consumption is not appreciated as per the mandate of law.

Note

The case is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Abha Singh, 4/27/2020 12:00:00 AM


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