MUMBAI: In a move to bolster its case, the prosecution in the 2002 hit-and-run mishap involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan today filed an application in the trial court saying it wanted to lead the evidence of two crucial witnesses, who are currently unavailable, to the court.
While one of the witnesses is the police bodyguard of the actor who had filed the complaint in this case, the other is a doctor who had conducted postmortem of the person who was killed in the accident.
According to prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, the bodyguard, Ravindra Patil, passed away during the trial after giving a statement to a magistrate that he had warned Salman not to drive rashly or else he would meet with an accident but the actor did not heed to his advice.
Another witness Dr Sanap, who had conducted the postmortem, has settled down in USA and therefore he is not available to the prosecution. However, he had given a statement to the magistrate earlier on the postmortem.
The statements of both these crucial witnesses were recorded by a magistrate during the trial. However, the case was transferred by the magistrate to the sessions court in 2013 after the charge of culpable homicide was invoked against Salman.
The sessions court decided to conduct a fresh trial and evidence is being led again. Hence, the prosecution wants to bring on record the statements of these witnesses (given to the magistrate earlier) who are currently not available to them.
Gharat also filed today the death certificate of the complainant which stated that he had died of tuberculosis.
Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade admitted that the complainant died but disputed that he had died of T.B.
The court has posted orders on the prosecution's application to lead evidence of the deceased complainant on February 27.
On the same day, Judge D W Deshpande is expected to pass an order on the prosecution's application seeking a direction to Salman Khan to produce his licence.
While the mishap had occurred in 2002, the prosecution has claimed that the actor had no driving licence at the relevant time and that he had procured it only in 2004.
On September 28, 2002, the actor's car had rammed into a bakery in suburban Bandra and ran over people sleeping on the pavement outside, killing one and injuring four.
Meanwhile, a chemical analyst, who had conducted the blood alcohol level test on Salman, was today grilled by defence lawyer Srikant Shivade with a number of technical questions such as the colour perception of people, whether light conditions have any impact on readings and what is the chemical name of iodine solution.
Asked what happens when oxidising agents react, the witness replied that he was not aware of the reaction.
To a query on the name of the oxidising agents in the test involving blood samples of Khan, he said they are potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid.
Shivade, during the cross-examination, also asked whether he has now studied about isometric titration as he had replied in negative about it during the previous hearing.
Asked what was the chemical name of iodine solution, the analyst said he was not aware.
"I am asking all these questions as all these pertains to the test that you have conducted," the lawyer said.
Asked whether iodine is kept in normal transparent bottle or a dark bottle, the chemical analyst replied "it is kept in a coloured bottle." Asked about the reason for preserving it in a coloured bottle, he said "I do not know."
To a query on the time duration for using the iodine solution, he said it has to be "used fresh."
However, he could not give a satisfactory reply when asked to specify what he understands from "fresh" and in how much time it has to be used.
Asked whether iodine is volatile or non-volatile, he could not reply. Asked what is catalysation, he said "I cannot say," and when asked a supplementary on what is "redox titration", he said: "No".
"I am asking all this as you have done all these tests," Shivade said.
More than 20 witnesses have already been examined and a few more are left.
The case, which has dragged on for over a decade, took a twist when a city magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against the 49-year-old actor, and referred the case to the sessions court which alone is competent to try the offence.
The charge of culpable homicide attracts a 10-year sentence.
Earlier, the charge against Khan was causing death by negligence, which entails imprisonment of up to two years.