Public outrage forced cops to add stringent law to Salman case, says defence

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 18, 2015 21:58 IST

The second statement of Salman Khan’s bodyguard Ravindra Patil was an afterthought, and was taken as part of the police’s plan to book the actor under the stringent law in the 2002 case following public outrage, defence advocate Shrikant Shivade said on Saturday.

Khan was arrested after the accident and later released on bail. However, people started questioning the granting of bail, as one man had died and four others were injured in the incident. Under public pressure, the police came up with a scheme to add the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder to the case, said Shivade.

As part of the plan, the police then recorded the second statement of Patil, stating the actor was drunk and was driving at high speed, despite Patil warning against it. Shivade said considering Patil’s statement, who died a few years ago, would be unfair on Khan, as the prosecution did not get the opportunity to cross-examine him.

The advocate argued that considering the distance and time within which they have reached the spot from the JW Marriott hotel, the speed was not more than 30 to 35 km an hour. He argued Patil’s statement differs on the route taken by them, which is an important aspect of the case. Also, his first statement does not mention that Khan was drunk and driving at high speed.

Referring to the testimony of Khan’s driver Ashok Singh, Shivade said he is a man with a conscience, who felt guilty about something going wrong. “In a criminal trial, a defence witness can only be brought during the closure of the prosecution case. So, he came before the court at the end of the trial,” Shivade said, justifying the driver’s late entry into the trial.

He said it was an accident where the driver had no control over the vehicle, and the actor cannot be punished for it.

The court has asked the defence to conclude the arguments on Monday, after which the prosecution will reply to it. If the arguments conclude on Monday, the court could announce the date for the verdict on Monday.

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