Major issues to be analysed in Salman accident verdict

Mumbai, Dec 7 (IANS) The Bombay High Court will dwell on several major aspects of the 13-year-old accident case involving Bollywood megastar Salman Khan, including the critical enhancement of ‘causing death by negligence’ charge to one of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’.

Justice A.R. Joshi started the open court dictation of his much-anticipated verdict in Salman’s appeal against the conviction and five-year sentence awarded by a Sessions Court in May in the September 28, 2002 accident which left a pavement dweller dead and four others injured.

“The charges were elevated from Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) to 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), from the Metropolitan Magistrate to the Sessions Court. We would be examining it in detail at an approprirate place,” said Justice Joshi.

The court pointed out that when the evidence of Ravindra Patil, the deceased police bodyguard assigned to Salman, was recorded and his cross-examination was conducted by the magistrate court, the main section was Section 304-A. But when his statement was taken on recod in the Sessions Court, it was under 304-II.

“In such a case, whether the statement can be taken on record under Indian Evidence Act Section 33 would be analysed in detail,” Justice Joshi said.

He pointed out that Patil was dead and not available for cross-examination now.

During the initial dictation of his verdict, Justice Joshi classified the witnesses examined by the court into various categories for analysis and perspective, based on the submissions by defence lawyer Amit Desai and Chief Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde.

The judge also said that the issue of the drunken charge against Salman had to be critically examined as the evidence of some of the injured in the accident was not devoid of minor discrepancies.

The four injured witnesses are Nimayat Shaikh, Mannu Khan, Mohammed Kalim Iqbal Pathan and Mohammed Abdullah Shaikh.

The judgement dictation will continue further on Tuesday.

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