MUMBAI: Seeking to pick holes in the prosecution's arguments in the 2002 hit-and-run case, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's lawyer today told the Bombay High Court that the evidence did not suggest that the actor had consumed alcohol.
"It would be wrong to accept that Salman had consumed high content of Bacardi white rum as alleged by the prosecution," senior counsel Amit Desai said while arguing an the appeal filed by the actor against his conviction.
"All that has emerged in the evidence is that Salman was having a glass of white colour liquid," said Desai, adding that the glass contained only water and not alcohol.
The lawyer read out the evidence of Malay Semerendra Bag, the waiter at the Rain Bar and Restaurant where Salman allegedly had drinks. This witness is not specific whether it is Salman who gave the order or anyone else, said Desai.
The lawyer pointed out that the witness said he had kept 'Bacardi and Cosmopolitan cocktail' on the table. "But there is no mention of how much. Whether it is one bottle or two bottles...pegs by pegs, how many times," he said.
Besides, the waiter had said that he had taken orders of Salman's friends and not the actor himself, Desai noted.
Manager of Rain Bar and Restaurant Rizwan Ali Rakhangi had said all tables were occupied. "There are 200 persons there...you cannot find one person from these tables who can say that Salman was drinking, you have not examined any of the friends of Salman Khan," said the lawyer.
"They (prosecution) went by the media-created 'bad boy' image (of Salman) and presumed that he was drunk," Desai said.
If an independent witness in the restaurant would have been examined, he would have told the truth, said Desai.
"PW 5 has stated that he has not seen Salman drinking. PW 9, in cross-examination, said Bacardi rum looks like water.
Salman was drinking clear liquid. PW 9 had stated that clear liquid looks like water...this does not prove in any manner that Salman was drunk," Desai pointed out.
The prosecution's case is that that Salman had rammed his Toyota Land Cruiser into a shop in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four, who were sleeping on pavement outside.
The trial court had, on May 6, awarded 5-year jail term to the actor.