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Hit-and-run case: Salman cries foul, says evidence fabricated

During the final arguments in the 2002 hit-and-run case in Mumbai on Wednesday, accused actor Salman Khan alleged that evidence against him was fabricated. He also changed his line of defence regarding his blood sample, and claimed on Wednesday that the blood extracted at Bhabha hospital was used for tampering.

“The entire case of drunken driving is not made out. When the FIR was registered (on September 28, 2002), no reference, whatsoever, was made about any section related to drunken driving. This entire story (of drunken driving) was created only on October 1 (2002),” advocate Shrikant Shivade said.

He sought punishment for the investigating officer for “fabrication of documents”, pleading that the judgement should be an eye opener for the police and medical officials. He accused the doctors of playing ploys in the hands of the police.

“There is an unholy nexus between the police and the doctors. Is a doctor supposed to be the servant of the police officer? This judgement should be an eye opener for the medical officers and police officers, that things should be done if the rules require so,” Mr. Shivade said.

He also discarded the evidence of an important eye witness and a victim, claiming that he could not have seen Mr. Khan when he was stuck under the car. The eye witness had testified before the court how Mr. Khan was so drunk that he fell down twice after getting down from the car, and then ran away.

“The entire statement of this witness is unbelievable due to various reasons. The position in which he was, it was impossible to see anything. He was beneath the car. It is contradictory that a person who could not even stand on his feet, ran away. The statement is a figment of imagination. His shocked state of mind has to be taken into consideration,” he said.

‘Bar manager better than doctor’

Mr. Shivade claimed that the assessment of the bar manager who deposed before the court, is better than the doctor’s assessment, as the bar manager sees drunk people every day, and can guage from their body language whether they are drunk or not. “Rizwan says that Salman’s gait was normal, he didn’t smell of alcohol. The doctor’s report that Salman was smelling of alcohol is fabricated,” he alleged.

Mr. Shivade claimed that laws were flagrantly violated at various levels of investigation including collection and sealing of blood samples. He also alleged that the magistrate who conducted the trial earlier, was prejudiced. He raised questions about the manner in which statements of witnesses were recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“The extraction of blood was in violation of law. Its transfer into a vial was in violation of law. The sealing of bottles too was done in violation of law,” Mr. Shivade said.

“The chemical analysis report was manufactured. The bills at Rain Bar hotel were fabricated. There have been a series of fabrications by the investigating officer. The police tried to conceal the fact that he (Mr. Khan) was initially sent to Bhabha hospital,” he said further.

Mr. Khan’s lawyer also questioned the lack of medical records from Bhabha hospital, and the manner of his medical examination.

“The doctor said the medical examination was over in five minutes. How can a string of tests be conducted in five minutes? The minimum time to test respiratory rate is three minutes, ” he said, adding that the doctor did not take Salman’s consent before examination.

Mr. Shivade also questioned the expertise and qualifications of the chemical analyst, and pointed out several technical issues which he failed to clarify during his cross questioning.

“Am I to suffer because their doctors did not have knowledge? Am I to‎ suffer because of this unqualified expert? No preservative was used while storing blood in vial. Possibility of fermentation is writ large,” he said, adding that every evidence was tampered with.

The final arguments will continue on Thursday.

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