While some may say justice is delivered, others may be dejected by it. But the verdict in the 2002 hit-and-run case wouldn’t have been possible without the person who stood by his words until his death – Ravindra Patil, Salman Khan’s former bodyguard who maintained till death that it was the actor behind the wheel that night.
Patil who died of tuberculosis in 2007 was a Mumbai police constable who was assigned as Salman’s bodyguard. He was sitting beside the actor when he ran over five sleeping pedestrians in Bandra in 2002, in which one man died and four were injuried.
As reported by News Minute, it was Patil who lodged an FIR against Salman, and said he had warned the actor to drive slowly since he was in an inebriated condition. Patil said that Salman did not pay heed to the warning.
Patil went missing during the course of the trial as he was pressurized to change his statement against the actor. He reportedly went into hiding in order to avoid Salman’s lawyers and also alleged harassment from within the police force.
He was sacked from Mumbai police force in 2006. Suffering from tuberculosis and abandoned by his family, he was found on streets in Mumbai. Two days before his death, Patil told a friend of his:
“I stood by my statement till the end, but my department did not stand by me. I want my job back, I want to survive. I want to meet the police commissioner once.”
The judgement is victory for victims and also, for Patil. But, today, the heads of every police officer and the entire Mumbai police department should hang in shame for deserting one of their own. This is why no one trusts the police.