The Supreme Court today issued notice to bollywood superstar Salman Khan on the appeal filed by Maharashtra Government against his acquittal of Bollywood in the 2002 hit and run case.
A bench headed by Justice J S Khehar asked senior lawyer Kapil Sibal who appeared for the star to file a response within six weeks.
As Sibal stiffly opposed the notice saying all the "so-called evidence" were flimsy and not a single witness corroborated the police version and no one identified salman as the person behind the wheel, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said several of those injured had given sufficient evidence to convict him.
At this stage Justice Khehar told Sibal: " it is open to you to take notice. If this court acquits you you will be vindicated for all time. I feel it would be much much much better if you accept notice and file a reply" to which Sibal agreed.
AG had on the last date argued: “The judgment of the High Court is a travesty of justice. The statement of injured victims discarded, police witness discarded and a driver who surfaced after 13 years is believed by the honourable High Court”.
AG explained the entire incident, trial in the lower court and the judgment of the High Court to the bench.In its appeal, the Maharashtra government 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 acquitted Observing that “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 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 adequate.