On the second day of its dictation in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday recorded the variances in the testimonies of witnesses that have not been explained by the prosecution.
The court also observed that whether the actor’s car tyre burst prior to the accident or it happened because of the accident is unknown.
While dictating the order Justice A R Joshi noted there are anomalies in the process of extracting and testing blood samples of the actor. The court observed that the “missing links create doubt over crucial piece of biological evidence”.
On September 28, when the accident killing one and injuring four others occurred, Mr Khan was sent to civic-run Bhabha Hospital at Bandra, but it did not have the blood extraction facility and he was then taken to the state-run JJ Hospital. After extracting his blood, the medical officer sent the sample to Bandra police station but could not send it to forensic laboratory because it was a Saturday. The sample was sent on September 30 for testing the alcohol content.
The court noted the medical officer drew 6 ml of blood and had put it in two vials, of 3 ml each but what reached the chemical analyser (CA) was 4 ml of blood in one vial. The court further recorded that a clerk at the forensic laboratory received the vials was not examined.
Justice Joshi further noted, the CA should have taken greater care, if his evidence has to be accepted as expert evidence. Also, handling of samples at various stages from blood extraction to blood examination, should have been proper. The court also recorded that no signature or thumb impression was there of the actor on the OPD form of the hospital.
The court also said that one of the victims had seen Salman Khan falling down twice, getting up and going away. This, the court said, has to be construed as an aspect of drunkenness. Given the varying testimonies of the victims (see box), the court said the evidence of the injured is “devoid of any minor discrepancies”. Taking note of the drunken part behind the accident, the bills generated at the bar were generated on a computer and the name of the customer was not mentioned on the bill. Another glaring discrepancy in the bill showed the date as September 27 and not September 28 as the actor had left the place after midnight.
The court said the “trial court had not done the analysis of whether the bills of the bar where alcohol was called for by the actor and his friends can be accepted to prove the drunkeness of the appealant-accused”. The court also recorded the prosecution’s statement that Salman Khan was holding a white-colour glass in the bar and what he was possibly drinking could have been water.