The prosecution has failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that actor Salman Khan was driving and was under the influence of alcohol, observed the Bombay High Court on Wednesday while dictating its verdict in the >2002 hit-and-run case that left one dead and four injured.
Justice A R Joshi, who is presiding over the case, said that late Ravindra Patil who was the prosecution’s star witness is not “wholly reliable” and that the Sessions Court erred in accepting his evidence as recorded earlier before a Magistrate Court.
The court said Patil had made improvements subsequently in his statement given to a Magistrate. In the FIR filed soon after the incident, he did not implicate Salman, but in the statement he said that Salman was driving under the influence of alcohol.
The court recorded that Patil did not mention anything on alcohol or drunkenness but said about the speeding vehicle. However, when his supplementary statement was recorded, he mentioned consumption of alcohol.
“This court has come to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to bring material on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was driving and was under the influence of alcohol, also, whether the accident occurred due to bursting (of tyre) prior to the incident or tyre burst after the incident,” Justice Joshi remarked.
The dictation is likely to conclude on Thursday.