Bollywood star Salman Khan, who was acquitted by the Bombay high court on Thursday in the 2002 hit-and-run case, had told a court in his statement that he was innocent and was not driving the car at the time of the accident.
Khan had appealed to the high court to overturn a sessions court May judgment that had held him guilty and handed out a five-year jail term in the case.
On Thursday, Justice AR Joshi pointed out, while pronouncing the verdict, that the actor cannot be convicted because of “various shortcomings in investigations and prosecution’s evidence”.
“Prosecution has failed to prove charges against Khan on all counts,” Joshi said.
The court had on March 27 recorded the statement of the 49-year-old actor after the prosecution closed its case in the trial. Under the law, an accused is given an opportunity to explain the circumstances which the prosecution puts forth against them.
It had put 419 questions to the actor on the basis of the statements of the witnesses and evidence produced by the prosecution. The court also explained to him that even if his statement is found false he cannot be prosecuted for giving a false statement in the court.
Watch | Salman Khan acquitted of all charges in 2002 hit-and-run case
In his statement to the court, the Dabangg actor had accused the prosecution of creating a false case against him and said he was not drunk or driving his Toyota Land Cruiser when the vehicle ran over five sleeping people on a pavement, one of whom died later, in Bandra West on September 28, 2002.
The actor had stated that on that day he and singer Kamal Khan had dinner after which they went to Rain bar. Khan said that his driver Altaf was driving the car as he sat next to him and his bodyguard Ravindra Patil and the singer on the back seat. The actor said that he only had a drink of water in the bar.
After leaving the bar they went to a new bar at Hotel JW Marriot. Khan said that when they reached the hotel his driver Altaf said that he was not feeling well and wanted to leave. It was then, the actor said, Altaf was asked to go and another driver Ashok was called.
While leaving the hotel, the actor said he sat at the driver’s seat, but later his bodyguard informed him that Altaf had left and Ashok will join soon. They waited for Ashok and when he arrived Khan shifted to the left side of the car.
He denied allegations that he was driving the car at the time of the accident but said he did get out of it from driver’s side as reported by witnesses. “As the door on my left got jammed I jumped on the driver’s seat and got down from the driver’s seat,” he told the court.
The actor also denied allegations that he ran away from the accident spot or he was not in a state to stand properly and was assaulted by the people present there. He said he was there for more than fifteen minutes. “After when we got off the car, we tried to lift the car to rescue the persons ... but it was not possible,” the actor said.
The actor also alleged that his blood was extracted by the doctor at the JJ Hospital without his permission and also alleged the procedure for examination of his blood was faulty as was the analyser.
Salman acquitted of all charges in 2002 hit-and-run case. Do you agree with the #SalmanVerdict? Are you satisfied?— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) December 10, 2015