Mumbai

Close Salman hit-and-run case soon: trial court

This November 14, 2014 photo shows Bollywood actor Salman Khan arriving at the Jodhpur court for a hearing in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case. A trial court in Mumbai pulled up the actor for not being present during the trial in the hit-and-run case on Monday.

This November 14, 2014 photo shows Bollywood actor Salman Khan arriving at the Jodhpur court for a hearing in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case. A trial court in Mumbai pulled up the actor for not being present during the trial in the hit-and-run case on Monday.  

The hit-and-run case against actor Salman Khan has been dragging on for 13 years now, and has to be closed soon, the trial judge observed here on Monday. Sessions Judge D W Deshpande thereafter directed the prosecution to complete the examination of all witnesses by next month. The court also expressed displeasure at the actor's absence during the trial on Monday.

"I remember I had directed the accused to remain present today," Judge Deshpande responded to the exemption application filed by Salman Khan's lawyer Shrikant Shivade. The prosecution too "strongly opposed" the exemption application. Though the court granted Salman exemption from appearance on Monday, it said the actor will have to remain present during the next hearing on December 3.

Previously, he had sought exemption on the ground of his sister's (Arpita Khan) wedding. He had said he would attend the proceedings on the date after the wedding. But failed to appear on Monday, citing professional reasons. "He had to go for work today. 200 people were dependent on him," Mr Shivade told the court.

Meanwhile, the court was also told about an application filed by a social activist alleging mala fide intent of the police behind the delay of over a decade in the trial. Santosh Daundkar has alleged in his application that Bandra police had "put up false names of doctors and had not served summons to witness for which reason the case had started languishing for several years."

The court said it will hear this application during the final hearing of the main trial. "If the court finds merit in our application, even the police personnel involved in the case will have to face punishment," advocate Abha Singh, who represents Mr Daundkar, told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, two witnesses were produced before the court on Monday. An insurance agent who was produced by the prosecution, refused to identify the insurance certificate issued for Salman's vehicle which was allegedly involved in the accident. "This hasn't been issued by my office," Gurcharan Malhotra told the court when he was shown a photocopy of Salman's SUV. "If it would have been issued by my office, it would have had a stamp saying 'G A Malhotra'," he said.

The court thereafter asked the relevance of the witness to the case.

Another witness, Mark D'Souza, was also examined before the court. Mr D'Souza is a counter clerk at the American Express Cleaners laundry, the place where the accident took place in 2002. He said he knew Salman Khan and had seen him in-person when he travelled on the street adjacent to the laundry. Salman stays very close from the laundry.

During the next hearing on December 3, the court will examine a chemical analysis expert and a motor vehicle inspector who worked with Andheri RTO at the time of the incident.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 9:20:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/close-salman-hitandrun-case-soon-trial-court/article6630064.ece

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