An RTO officer told a sessions court hearing the hit-and-run case involving Bollywood star Salman Khan that he was unable to tell whether the accident had occurred due to the condition of the tyres of the actor’s vehicle.
Salman is facing the trial in the 2002 case in which his car had rammed into a bakery at suburban Bandra killing one person and injuring four others who were sleeping outside on the pavement.
“It is true that the condition of tyres of a vehicle is inspected by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to decide whether it (tyres) could be a reason for the mishap,” the RTO officer R S Ketkar said in reply to a question put by Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade during cross-examination.
He further said it is mandatory to fill up a form called ‘accident report’ which he had done but did not recollect whether he had mentioned about the condition of tyres therein.
“I also do not recollect whether I had told a city Magistrate about the condition of tyres,” the witness said when he was confronted with his statement recorded by a Magistrate after the mishap.
In response to a question, he said mentioning about the condition of tyres in the accident report was an important fact, but could not answer why this had not been recorded in this document.
Asked if he had inspected the tyres of the actor’s Land Rover involved in the mishap, he replied in the negative and further admitted that had such an inspection been carried out, it would have been possible to ascertain how the tyres got deflated.
The witness said the tyres of the vehicle were not punctured and added that only if some pointed object comes in contact with the tyres, they can get deflated.
To a question, the witness said he did not have any expertise on rubbers and tyres and he was also not aware whether the tyres of the actor’s vehicle were imported.
It is the case of prosecution that the actor’s car was imported and was being driven by him in a drunken state, although Salman has denied the allegations when the charges were framed against him earlier.
The RTO officer had told the court earlier that in his inspection he found that Salman’s vehicle was damaged extensively (as a result of the mishap).
He had also said that he had been trained by his office to inspect cars, but admitted that he had not been taught to inspect the imported cars.
The next witness will depose on December 24. The trial is being conducted by Judge D W Deshpande.
The actor did not come to the court for the trial today as the court has exempted him from personal appearance. However, his sister Alvira witnessed the proceedings.
Last December, the court ordered a fresh trial in the case on the ground that witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, invoked by the magistrate’s court midway through the earlier trial.
Causing death by negligence, the earlier charge attracts maximum imprisonment of two years, while culpable homicide not amounting to murder attracts a 10-year sentence.