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Witness in Salman Khan’s case identifies articles

A witness in the 2002 hit-and-run case, involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan identified articles seized by police from the accident spot but denied during cross-examination that he was tutored by police to draw the ‘panchnama’.
“I am able to identify them as the articles which were seized by police from the spot where the car had met with an accident”, said Samba Gowda, a tea vendor who had drawn the ‘panchnama’ after the mishap.
The witness was being examined by public prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar. He is the first one to depose in the re-trial of this case.
Among the articles seized by police after the mishap were broken glass pieces, some parts of vehicle’s bumper, blood-soaked soil and a portion of the shop’s shutter.
On September 28, 2002, the actor had run over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group of persons sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra, killing one and injuring four others.
During cross-examination by defence lawyer Srikant Shivade, the witness denied that he was tutored by police.
“It would be wrong to say that police had not taken me to the accident spot and that later I was asked to sign the panchnama,” the witness said.
To another question, the witness said, “I do not know whether the car was taken away by a crane before or after the panchnama was drawn.”
Gowda further said that the papers of the car were not seized and also police did not open the door of the car.
However, when he was confronted with the ‘panchnama’ which made a mention of these things, the witness could not say as to why the police had recorded this.
To another question by advocate Shivade, the witness said, “I do not know who wrote the panchnama”. He later said “police wrote it and I signed it”.
“I did not personally supervise or note down the measurement taken by police of the distance between the shutter of the shop and the car”, said Gowda, who hails from Karnataka.

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