2002 hit-and-run case: Bombay HC acquits Salman Khan

4:18 PM, Thursday, December 10th, 2015
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salman-khanMumbai : The Bombay High Court today acquitted Bollywood star Salman Khan of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which he was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment by a sessions court.

While acquitting the 49-year-old actor in a jampacked courtroom, Justice A R Joshi said, “The appeal is allowed. The trial court’s verdict is quashed and set aside. Salman is acquitted of all charges.”

On hearing the verdict, Salman broke down.

The actor, who wore a blue-white check shirt, arrived in the court at 1.30 PM even as the police made a tight bandobast around the high court premises.

He was accompanied by his bodyguard Shera, brother-in-law Ayush, sister Alvira and his manager.

Justice Joshi, who started dictating the verdict on Monday, said the prosecution failed to establish its case against the appellant accused (Salman) on all charges.

On September 28, 2002, Salman’s car had rammed into a bakery shop in suburban Bandra. One person was killed and four others were injured in the mishap.

Lawyers, litigants and many others had gathered in and around the court to have a glimpse of Salman as he came rushing from a studio in Karjat on the outskirts of Mumbai where he was shooting.

The judge said the burden is on the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused and this needs to be done beyond reasonable doubt.
There are various shortcomings by the prosecution like not recording evidence of necessary and important witnesses and omissions and contradictions in the evidence of injured witnesses, which definitely create a doubt about the involvement of Salman for offences for which he has been charged, the court said.

On the basis of such evidence, Salman cannot be convicted, it said.

The judge further said that the investigation was conducted in a faulty manner with many loose ends and as such benefit of this had to be given in favour of the accused.

It is the duty of the court to analyse the evidence submitted to it and to see that the offence is proved beyond reasonable doubt, Justice Joshi said.
He said he is of the considered view that the appreciation of evidence done by the trial court while convicting the appellant was not proper and legal, as per the principles of criminal jurisprudence.

Consequently it must be said that this is not a case where the prosecution has successfully established its charges, he observed, adding that the entire evidence of the prosecution was circumstantial in nature.

On the main aspects as to driving and drunkenness, the prosecution has not brought any material evidence which spells out the offence of the accused, the court said.

The trial court erred in accepting bills (of Rain Bar and Restaurant where Salman had gone before the mishap) without a panchnama, the judge said while dictating the verdict.

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