The Supreme Court today sought the response from Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Maharashtra government’s appeal against his acquittal in the 2002 hit-and-run case, observing that exoneration from the top court would “vindicate him once and for all”.
“Acquittal from this Court is important. If you (Salman Khan) are acquitted from here, you will be vindicated once and for all,” a bench comprising justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan said while issuing notice to Khan on the plea of Maharshtra government.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state, said the Bombay High Court had erred on two points while acquitting the filmstar.
“Firstly, the High Court had erred in its finding by holding that there was ‘erroneous application’ of Section 33 of Evidence Act (relevancy of certain evidence for proving, in subsequent proceeding, the truth of facts therein stated) by the trial court,” he said.
Rohtagi said that on second count, the High Court had erred by holding that the prosecution witness Ravindra Patil, a constable who was guarding the actor and had first called the police, was not a “wholly reliable witness” and his version needed corroboration with accounts of other witnesses.
The High Court took note of the fact that Patil, while recording his statement in his FIR, had said everything except the fact that Khan was drunk on that fateful night, he said.
“Recording of the FIR is just an information about an incident and the FIR is not an encyclopaedia,” Rohtagi said.
The Attorney General said that Patil in his statement had said the actor had first gone to ‘Rain Bar and Restaurant’ at Vile Parle before ramming his Toyota Lexus car into a shop in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.
In the accident one person lost his life and several were injured and Patil’s statement said that three persons, Salman Khan, his singer friend Kamal Khan and he himself, were in the SUV, Rohatgi said.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Khan, said that in the FIR recorded on the statement of Patil, there was no mention of the actor being drunk.
“He was a police officer and the first thing he would have said was that the actor was drunk,” he said adding the other eye witness Kamal Khan was not examined.