The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed a plea filed by actor Salman Khan to summon singer and friend Kamaal Khan as an eyewitness in the 2002 hit-and-run case. Arguing for the actor in the appeal against his five-year conviction for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, senior counsel Amit Desai had filed an application in the High Court on November 16.
The prosecution and defence had not disputed Kamaal’s presence in the car that ran over people sleeping on the pavement, killing one and injuring four. The application sought to make Kamaal a prosecution witness as he has been interrogated by the police, and his statement is a part of the charge sheet.
Mr Desai contended that despite making it to the list of witnesses, Kamaal had not been called by the prosecution to depose before the metropolitan magistrate in 2008 to record his evidence. Mr Desai had therefore sought that Section 391 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) be invoked to summon Kamaal to record his statement and allow the defence to cross-examine him. He also said that not examining him would prejudice the case, and it is necessary to record his evidence for a just decision.
Dismissing the plea, Justice AR Joshi took recourse to Section 391 of the CrPC, which stipulates that the court may take further evidence or direct it to be taken, and said it is not the ultimate requirement. The court observed that the section can also be used to prevent a guilty man from escaping, or the vindication of an innocent who has been wrongly implicated.
The court said considering the mandate and scope of the Section, nothing in the application made by the actor calls for recording and summoning Kamaal’s evidence. Justice Joshi further said the appellate (Salman) did not examine Kamaal, but chose to call Ashok Singh, the driver, as a defence witness.
The court will continue to hear the prosecution’s arguments on Tuesday.
Salman Khan in the eye of the storm
- » Blackbuck case: He was accused of poaching two Blackbucks in 1998 near Jodhpur during the shooting of 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'. He was sentenced to one year prison.
- » Comments about 26/11 attacks: “It was the elite that was targeted this time. So they panicked. Then they got up and spoke about it. My question is why not before? Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked about it so much,” Salman said in 2010. He claimed that Pakistan cannot be held responsible. He later apologised.
- » Aishwarya Rai in the picture: After their presence in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, the couple’s relationship was in the eye of the storm. After they broke up in 2002, Aishwarya alleged that the actor harassed her, as he was unable to come to terms with the ending of their relationship. A case was also registered by Aishwarya’s parents.
- » Brawl with SRK: In 2008, the two actors allegedly got into a fistfight during a party. The relationship between the two stars has never been the same since then. However, the two actors got back together on a good foot in an Iftar party and SRK attended Salman’s sister’s wedding. SRK visited Salman hours before the verdict on hit-and-run case.
- » Vivek Oberoi’s allegations: The actor accused Salman of "threatening to kill him, abusing and indulging in character assassination." It was rumoured that Vivek Oberoi and Aishwarya Rai were in a relationship.
Justice D.W. Deshpande held the Bollywood actor guilty of all counts rejecting his claim that his driver Ashok Singh was at the wheel when the accident took place.
The Bombay High Court on May 8, 2015 stayed the conviction and gave bail to the actor upon furnishing a bond of Rs. 30,000.
From initial charges to the final verdict, here's a timeline of the case that spanned over a massive 13 years.