The Supreme Court issued notice to actor Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case on Friday on the Maharashtra government’s petition challenging his acquittal by the Bombay high court.
The notice issued by the Supreme Court to asks him why his acquittal in hit-and-run case should not be reversed. Salman has been granted a six weeks time to respond to Maharashtra government’s appeal against his acquittal in the case.
Issuing notice returnable in six weeks, an apex court bench comprising Justice Jagjit Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan told Salman Khan that “it would be much, much better if he gets acquittal from this court as it will save him from all the repercussions”.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Salman Khan, took the court through the proceedings of the trial court, contending that his conviction was based on the testimony of one person, which cannot be relied upon.
He said besides that there was no other evidence before the trial court to convict Salman Khan in the case.
The high court, in its verdict passed on December 10, 2015, had held that prosecution had failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the actor was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and was drunk.
The judgement by the high court had come on an appeal by the superstar, seven months after he was pronounced guilty by trial court of running over five people sleeping on a pavement outside a laundry in suburban Bandra with his Toyota Land Cruiser, killing one and causing injury to four others on October 28, 2002.
The high court had rejected as “wholly unreliable” the statement of eyewitness Ravindra Patil, former police bodyguard of Salman, recorded by a magistrate in which he had accused the actor of driving under the influence of liquor.
The judge had said that Patil was a “wholly unreliable” witness because he had subsequently made “improvements” in his statement to the magistrate.
However, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi that besides the sole witness being pointed to by Sibal, there were scores of other witnesses at the accident spot who saw Salman Khan in the driver’s seat of the vehicle that ran over a group of people sleeping on a pavement, killing one of them.