Defence says Panchnama fabricated in Salman Khan hit and run case
Mumbai: The lawyer of Bollywood actor Salman Khan argued in the Bombay High Court on October 27 that the panchnama and site maps were fabricated by the police to falsely book the actor under the grave charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the 2002-hit-and-run case.
The High Court is hearing an appeal filed by Mr Khan who was awarded a five-year sentence on May 6 after a sessions court found him guilty of ramming his car into a shop in 2002, killing one person and injuring four others sleeping on the pavement.(Also Read: Salman Khan Hit and Run: Lawyer Questions Value of Police Bodyguard's Evidence)
"The panchnama and site maps are fabricated and cannot be relied upon. These were prepared to invoke section 304 II of IPC (culpable homicide) and also to add the element of 'drunkenness and rashness' to make the charges graver", argued Mr Khan's lawyer Amit Desai.
"Not just this, the police and prosecuting agency had ignored the statement of Salman Khan's family driver Ashok Singh, who has claimed that he was driving the car on the ill-fated day when the mishap occurred," Mr Desai added.
"Ashok Singh (Mr Khan's driver and defence witness) came to you (Bandra police station). You did not interrogate him. You did not record his statement. You have not cared to investigate," said Mr Desai.
Mr Desai also said that crucial witnesses like Mr Khan's brother Sohail, who was with him at Rain Bar and Restaurant, and singer Kamaal Khan, who was also in the bar and in the actor's car when the mishap occurred, were not examined in the court.
"Besides, police constable late Ravindra Patil's claim that there was a dent in a stutter at A-1 Bakery-American Express Laundry because of the impact of the accident does not corroborate what Samba Gowda, the panch-witness, has said in his statement," Mr Desai argued.
The lawyer alleged that this panch-witness was not at the spot. To prove this, he submitted the damaged portion of the car's bumper and a part of the shop's shutter before the court.
"There is a scratch but not a dent or a hole," said Mr Desai.
Pointing out discrepancies in evidence, Mr Desai said that PW-1 identified it (the piece of shutter). However while cross-examining it, he said that it has not been taken out in his presence. PW-26 (police inspector Rajendra Kadam), who was the first to reach the spot, said that he did not seize it while cross examining. PW-26 and PW-27 (Investigating Officer Kishan Shengal) said that they did not know who cut it out. Mr Desai said that these were the other discrepancies.
Mr Desai also said that the evidence on record suggested that the car had mounted over the stairs of the shop but its rear wheels were on the ground or hanging. However PW-I had said that he saw blood on the rear wheel of the car, though evidence depicts that people were sleeping on the pavement, in which case the blood should have been seen on the front wheels which went over them.
"It appears that the blood on the rear wheel was due to another event. Maybe because of the crane which was called to lift the car," he said adding that the statement of the panch witness cannot be relied upon.
Mr Khan's lawyer said that the impact theory was falsely created by the panch who was not at the site. In another development, Judge A R Joshi rejected the suggestion made by the prosecution lawyers S S Shinde and Purnima Kantharia that he (the Judge) may visit the mishap site at Bandra to get a feel of the place.
"It is too late now. For a trial stage it is useful," Justice Joshi said. "It could still be useful," said Ms Kantharia.
"It would give the feel of the situation and give an exact view of the site," added Mr Shinde.
However, Mr Desai said that inspecting the site would be useful only when the site is intact.
"We should refrain from indulging in this now," he said.
The court also concurred with the view of the defence lawyer and decided not to visit the site.
Arguments will continue on October 28.