After thirteen long years, it comes as a huge relief for actor Salman Khan and fans that the Bombay High on Thursday overturned the trial court’s judgement, and said that the actor cannot be convicted for the 2002 hut and run case
The court had said on Wednesday that the prosecution failed on all accounts to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Salman Khan was behind the wheel when the accident took place. The court also said there is no evidence of drunkenness as the prosecution failed to prove it.
Reports have said the court said that it has “come to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to bring material on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant (Salman Khan) was driving and 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,”
Further, the evidence of Ravindra Patil, who was Salman Khan’s bodyguard, is not admissible as he is not a “wholly reliable witness”, said the court. Patil is a Mumbai Police constable who had been assigned as Khan’s bodyguard and witnessed the accident. He died in 2007.
“It is the considered view of the court that only this witness (Patil) said that the vehicle was driven by the accused. Apart from this witness, no other witness said that the accused was driving,” said the judge.
Khan had initially been convicted in May 2015, and had been sentenced to five years in jail. Two days later, the Bombay HC suspended the actor’s sentence pending appeal and gave him bail. He was found guilty of killing Nurullah Sharif, and injuring four others after a white Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into the the American Express Bakery in Bandra, in the early hours of September 28, 2002. The court had then found him guilty on eight charges including Section 304 of the IPC for culpable homicide but not amounting to murder.
Salman Khan is one of Bollwyood’s biggest actors today and has around 200 crores (around £24 million) riding on him today.