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Salman’s lawyers say statements of prime witness unreliable

Actor Salman Khan’s lawyers, opening their final arguments in the hit-and-run case, alleged before the court here on Friday that his bodyguard had lied that Salman was driving the SUV when the accident occurred.

Ravindra Patil, a constable, who died in 2007, was the prime witness and complainant in the case. He was in the SUV at the time of the accident. In his complaint, Patil said the actor was drunk and driving the vehicle against his advice.

“Ravindra Patil lied about the number of persons in the car. Three witnesses have said there were four persons in the car, including Salman,” defence counsel Shrikant Shivade said. He alleged that Patil lied about the seating arrangement in the car too.

“In his own interview, he had said that Altaaf was driving the car from Rain Bar to JW Marriott. Where did he disappear at JW Marriott then? This supports the defence theory that Altaaf called Ashok Singh as he was feeling unwell. Thus Ashok Singh came for driving the car,” he said. “All circumstantial evidence shows that Salman was not in the driver’s seat, but was sitting next to the driver.”

Mr. Shivade said three witnesses had said that the left door of the car was jammed. “Ram Ashray Pandey, an eyewitness, said that Salman got down from the car, and after that, nobody else was seen in the car. Then why was Ravindra Patil not seen in the car? He was already on the road. This means Salman was sitting next to the driver’s seat and was the second to come out,” he said.

The defence side said the valet parking tag at JW Marriott, a crucial piece of evidence, was not taken into account by the prosecution. Neither did the police record the statements of the two valet drivers. These could have helped corroborate evidence and were crucial.

The arguments will continue next week now. The prosecution will submit its written final arguments to the court on March 13.

Actor’s bodyguard had said that Salman was drunk and driving the car against his advice

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 3:45:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/salmans-lawyers-say-statements-of-prime-witness-unreliable/article7091153.ece

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