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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Salman Khan hit-and-run trial: is the case falling apart?

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 26, 2014
First Published: 10:32 IST(26/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:40 IST(26/6/2014)

In yet another twist in the long drawn out trial and retrial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan, documents of original statements given by two of the witnesses before the police are now 'untraceable'.

This came a day after a prosecution witness in the case turned hostile and told the court he did not see the accident at all.

So far, 11 prosecution witnesses have been examined in the case that has seen many flip flops on both the prosecution and defence sides. While witness Mannu Khan, one of the victims in the accident, said that the actor was so drunk that he fell down as soon as he got out of the car, prosecution witness, Francis Fernandes has deposed saying soon after the accident when he met Salman, he did not smell of alcohol and walked normally.

Rizwan, the manager of the bar that the actor visited with his brothers and friends hours before the incident, who is also a prosecution witness, said he did not smell alcohol when he escorted Salman and his group out of the restaurant.

READ: NOT SURE IF SALMAN WAS DRUNK

Another prosecution witness, Malay Baugh, a steward at the bar said that the lights were dim and hence he could not see what the actor was drinking. The depositions of other witnesses were delayed on Wednesday as the original statements given to the police were said to missing.

The next date for the hearing is July 25. Sessions judge DW Deshpande has directed the investigating officer of the case, Rajendra Kane, to trace the missing documents by then.

The two witnesses Kalpesh Verma, parking manager at JW Marriot hotel, and Ameen Sheikh, an eyewitness to the incident, were slated to depose on Wednesday. The true copies of their statements to police were produced, but the original statements were untraceable. As per procedure, the original statements should be produced in the court during deposition.

This is the second time in the retrial that material has gone 'missing'.

On April 28, the hearing was adjourned after the muddemal (material evidence) went missing, only to be traced in the Metropolitan court.

NO CLARITY IN WITNESS' STATEMENTS

JUNE 24: The prosecution declares one of its witnesses, a security guard hostile, after he went back on his earlier statement made before the police. The guard said he had not witnessed the accident.

MAY 20: The seventh witness during the deposition said that after the accident, Salman Khan appeared to be walking normally and did not smell of alcohol.

MAY 6: The second witness, Mannu Khan, told the court that the actor was so drunk that he fell down, got back on his feet and ran away from the spot.

APRIL 28: Material property (muddemal) pertaining to the case went missing. It was later found lying in the Bandra metropolitan magistrate court.

12-YEAR-OLD CASE
SEPTEMBER 28, 2002: Salman Khan’s Toyota Land Cruiser allegedly crashes into a bakery in Bandra. One person is killed, four others sleeping on the pavement are injured.

MARCH 2011: The prosecution, based on evidence, asks that Khan be tried for the more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, instead of rash driving.

DECEMBER 2012: The magistrate court adds the harsher section, commits trial to sessions court.

MARCH 2013: The actor files an application challenging the magistrate court order. In June, the sessions court rejects the application. In July, the court frames charges against the actor for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

NOVEMBER 19, 2013: Salman pleads for fresh trial before sessions court, saying the section he is charged under is different when compared with a lighter charge.

DECEMBER 5, 2013: Fresh trial in the case ordered.

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