Bollywood action hero Salman Khan was on Wednesday sentenced to five years in jail in a 2002 hit-and-run case.
The statement given by Ravindra Patil, a police constable who was appointed as Salman Khan’s bodyguard, was important in the prosecution’s case.
As Patil passed away in 2007, the prosecution had asked the sessions court to consider his statement, which was recorded before the magistrate court, as evidence.
In his statement, Patil had told the court, “On September 28, 2002, I was attached to the protection branch. I was deputed as Salman Khan’s bodyguard and was to remain with him.”
Patil said he had started work the day before at 8pm. “On September 27, 2002, at 9.30pm, the accused and Kamaal Khan came out of a room at their residence and told me they were going to Rain Bar, Juhu. The accused had a Toyota Land Cruiser car with the registration number MH 01 DA 32. The accused was driving the car.
“They asked me to wait outside, while the accused and Kamaal went inside the hotel. The bodyguard of Sohail Khan also met me there. After a few hours, the accused and Kamaal came out. The accused sat in the driver’s seat and I was sitting next to him. Kamaal was sitting in the rear,” he had said in his deposition.
Patil said they went to JW Marriott, where he was made to wait outside again. “They came out at 2.15am. When the accused sat behind the wheel, I asked him whether he would be driving the car. He ignored me. The accused was driving the car at a speed of 90-100km/hour. Before reaching the Hill Road junction, I told the accused to slow down as a right turn was coming up. He ignored me again. The accused lost control of the car while taking a turn and drove right on to the footpath.”
Patil had told the court that the car crashed into American Express bakery and broke its shutter. “There was a lot of shouting and people had gathered around us. I showed my identity car and told the crowd I was a policeman, which pacified them. The accused and Kamaal ran away from the spot. I went to the car to check and saw that one person was seriously injured. There were four others who were stuck under the car.”
Patil said he was the one who called the police control room and then lodged a complaint with the Bandra police.
“The incident took place because the car was in speed and the accused, in a drunken state, could not control the car while taking the turn,” he had said.