New Delhi: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan got a major relief from Bombay High Court on December 10, 2015 after he got acquitted of all charges in the infamous 2002 hit-and-run case.
According to reports, Salman has now withdrawn his plea from the Supreme Court seeking examination of singer Kamaal Khan as witness in hit-and-run case. Kamaal was a major missing link in the case, who is currently in London.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur allowed Salman's lawyer to withdraw his appeal after she said that it had become infructuous in the light of Bombay High Court judgement in the main case. The Bombay High Court had on November 30 dismissed Salman's plea.
The high court yesterday acquitted Salman in the case, quashing the trial court order convicting and sentencing him for five years. It held that the prosecution had failed to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that the actor was driving the vehicle at the time of accident and was drunk.
The judge said the prosecution should have examined Kamaal Khan, singer friend of Salman, who was with him in the Toyota Land Cruiser when the mishap occurred on September 28, 2002. Summons had been issued to Khan by the trial court but the matter was not followed up further.
The court also rejected the prosecution's charge that Salman's family driver Ashok Singh, who had on March 28 appeared before the trial court and claimed he was behind the wheels at the time of the accident, was a "got up witness".
"The trial court has described family driver Ashok Singh has a 'got up witness' and that he came after 13 years. In fact, he has come on time. A wrong impression was created, that too by learned prosecutor in the Sessions Court that he was coming after 13 years," the judge said.
The court also rejected as "fabricated" the four bills of Rain Bar, where the actor and his friends were claimed to have consumed alcohol before the mishap, that prosecution had presented in support of its case. The bills were dated October 27, 2002, a day before the date of accident. There was also a noting on the bill in writing saying Salman had footed it, leading the court to conclude it was fabricated.
The court held that the 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 came on an appeal by the superstar, seven months after he was pronounced guilty by the 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 appeal is allowed. The trial court's verdict is quashed and set aside...Salman is acquitted of all the charges," Justice A R Joshi said, reading out the judgement. "....This court has come to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to bring material on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant (Salman was driving and was under the influence of alcohol, also, whether the accident occurred due to bursting (of tyre) prior to the incident or tyre burst after the incident...," the judge said.
After the verdict was pronounced in a jam-packed courtroom, the 49-year-old actor, overcome with emotions, broke down in full public view before being asked by his long-time bodyguard Shera to turn his face toward the wall so people do not see his tears. A visibly relieved Salman was later seen humming a song as sister Alvira flashed a 'Thumbs up' sign.
(With PTI inputs)