Salman Case Again Before SC, But Just For Replacing Surety

Salman Case Again Before SC, But Just For Replacing Surety

It was only an application filed by the actor for substitution of the bail surety which the apex court readily allowed.

Media persons thronged Courtroom No.1 of the Supreme Court today as item no. 23 -  ‘Salman Salim Khan Vs State of Maharashtra was about to be taken up for hearing.

All had presumed that the Maharashtra government appeal against the Bombay High Court’s acquittal of the bollywood super star in the 2002 hit and run was coming up again almost two years.

The state government had in November last year pressed for early hearing and quick disposal of the appeal filed in February 2016.

But it was only an application filed by the actor for substitution of the bail surety which the apex court readily allowed.

While acquitting Salman of all charges, Bombay High Court had on December 10, 2015 observed “strong suspicion of guilt cannot be used to hold a person guilty”,

“This is an application for substitution of surety. Having perused the averments made in the application, the respondent is permitted to file the substituted surety before the concerned trial Court. The IA  is accordingly allowed”, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justices  Amitava Roy and D Y Chandrachud said. This was after Salman’s lawyer said one of the present surety had sought discharge and needed to be replaced.

In its appeal, the Maharashtra government had urged the apex court to set aside the acquittal order.

It disputed the High Court’s observation that the investigation was conducted in a careless and faulty manner, claiming that there were many witnesses who corroborated the charges against Salman adequately.

The appeal said evidence of complainant Ravindra Patil, who was with Salman in the Toyota Land Cruiser, was legally tenable and its rejection was wrong. Patil was the actor’s bodyguard who had said Salman was driving drunk and had ignored his warnings.

Patil died of tuberculosis in 2007 and when the High Court examined his testimonies, it held the evidence was not admissible under law.

It said HC had not concluded as to who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and said the evidence of all injured witnesses was important and had more probative value being victims of the incident.

The petition also refuted the HC finding that the probe was conducted to weaken the prosecution’s case.

Instead, “the HC has not appreciated the evidence on record in its proper perspective,” said the state police. They claimed a “hypothesis” was recorded while acquitting Salman of charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous hurt, drunken driving etc.

While acquitting Salman of all charges, Bombay High Court had on December 10 observed “strong suspicion of guilt cannot be used to hold a person guilty”,

Overturning the order of a lower court, which had in May convicted the actor under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced him to a jail term of five years, Justice A R Joshi said this was “not a case where the prosecution has successfully established its case of all its charges”.

Maharashtra government disputed the High Court’s observation that the investigation was conducted in a careless and faulty manner, claiming that there were many witnesses who corroborated the charges against Salman adequately.