The Bombay High Court has acquitted Bollywood superstar Salman Khan of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run case 13 years ago.
Justice AR Joshi, who heard Khan’s appeal against the five-year sentence awarded to him by a sessions court, started his judgment dictation on Monday, and pronounced its verdict on Thursday.
After the verdict was out and the actor was acquitted of all the charges, Salman Khan broke down and cried. His family members were by his side and consoled him.
The verdict evoked sharp reactions on Twitter:
I am not even shocked or surprised with the #SalmanVerdict because this is India and yaha paisa bolta hai.Advertisement
— Nikita (@_Nikikita) December 10, 2015
Slap on the face of million people who believed in “SATAYAMAV JAYATE” #SalmanVerdict
— Nitin Singh (@nisi786) December 10, 2015
#SalmanVerdict Now Rajasthan forest Dept will soon recover a letter written by a black buck: Sallu bhai didn’t kill me. I commited suicide
Uninstalled Indian Acts & Laws app from phone. 😂 #SalmanVerdictAdvertisement
— Doga & 69 Others (@WaggishDT) December 10, 2015
The arm of the law is long …but not long enough to touch the rich and powerful. #SalmanVerdict
— Tinu Cherian Abraham (@tinucherian) December 10, 2015
Hope the Bishnois who’ve fought a huge battle in the black buck case are prepared the black bucks probably shot themselves! #SalmanVerdict
— swati chaturvedi (@bainjal) December 10, 2015
#SalmanVerdict is an indicator of everything that is wrong with India today. The life of the poor hold zero value.
— Moona (@MoonaBegum) December 10, 2015
The Bombay high court concluded that the prosecution had not established its case against the actor beyond a reasonable doubt as is required under criminal law. The court narrated the many “unexplained and glaring anomalies” in the evidence.
Khan had filed an appeal in the High court against the May 6 conviction by a Mumbai sessions court for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and a five-year sentence given as punishment.
The actor, who is shooting for the upcoming film Sultan appeared in court before Justice Joshi who concluded and pronounced the judgement on the appeal. Khan’s sister Alvira was also present in the court.
The court has questioned the credibility of prosecution witness Ravindra Patil, who was Salman’s bodyguard at that time.
It was Patil who had said that it was Khan who was driving that night and that he was drunk and had ignored his warnings repeatedly.
The court pointed out that no one but Patil had said that Salman was driving. It said:
“If the witness is partly reliable, then corroboration is required. Ravindra Patil cannot be considered as a wholly reliable witness.”
It should also be noted that Patil passed away in October, 2007.
The High Court also observed that the manner in which evidence like bar bills had been collected, suggested that someone had fabricated them and that it was an error not examine singer Kamaal Khan, who was present in Salman Khan’s car that night.
In his verdict, Justice Joshi who analysed the evidence of several witnesses, observed how some of it “probablised the defence theory” of there being four persons in the vehicle, not three as the prosecution said and of Salman not being drunk, etc.
Throughout the trial, Salman’s lawyers had argued that it was not Salman but his driver Ashok Singh who was behind wheels that night.
The incident had taken place back in 2002, when in early hours of September 28, Salman’s Toyota Land Cruiser had crashed onto the pavement outside the American Bakery in Bandra and crushed five men who were sleeping there. One of the five, Nurullah Sharif had died, while four others were injured.
According to media reports, Maharashtra government would soon appeal in the Supreme Court against the verdict.
Sad day. I hope Maharashtra Govt will appeal against #salmankhanverdict in Supreme Court-Abha Singh,Senior Lawyer
— ANI (@ANI_news) December 10, 2015