MUMBAI: Pointing to "discrepancies" in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, his lawyer today raised a question in the Bombay High Court as to why police had gone for a blood test when no witness or FIR had ever suggested that the actor was drunk or was smelling of liquor.
Amit Desai, arguing on Salman's appeal against conviction, alleged discrepancies made by police while drawing blood samples of the actor in the 14-year-old drink-and-driving case and said that the actor had not taken alcohol on the day of the mishap. On May 6, the actor was sentenced to five-year jail term for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and driving under the influence of liquor. One person was killed and four injured when his car had rammed into a shop in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.
"Why Kisan Shengal, prosecution witness 27 and Senior Police Inspector of Bandra police station, took a decision to draw blood samples of Salman Khan...Why ? What prompted him?...," asked Desai while arguing before Justice A R Joshi. Desai said the complainant as well as star witness late Ravindra Patil, who was the police bodyguard of Salman at the relevant time, had not given any statement to police about the actor smelling of liquor either in his complaint.
Also, the lawyer said, the FIR does not say this and no other witness has suggested this till that time. Then what prompted police to go in for blood test of Salman,? he asked. Desai pointed out that in the entire evidence, there is no mention of police constables, officers and/or staff speaking about the smell of alcohol when the appellant arrived at Bandra police station on September 28, 2002 when the mishap had occurred.
He said the FIR had been lodged by the main witness, Ravindra Patil, who was accompanying Salman Khan in his car on the day of mishap from the time - around 11 pm of September 27, 2002 till 2.45 am of September 28, 2002. According to the prosecution's case, Patil had gone with Salman from the actor's Galaxy Apartments at Bandra to Rain Bar at Juhu and then to JW Marriot hotel before the accident.
But nowhere Patil had made a mention of Salman smelling of liquor or taking drinks, said his lawyer. "There is absolutely no mention - that he was slurring, that he was smelling, that he was staggering, that his gait was not proper....Our case is that he did not have alcohol..then why PW-27 (Investigating officer Kishen Shengal) took the decision to send him to hospital?," he asked.
Desai said that Salman was first sent to Bhabha Hospital where his blood could not be drawn. "But there is no witness who has been examined from Bhabha Hospital which is five minutes away from Bandra police station, he argued. Later, when Salman was taken to JJ Hospital at Byculla, the medical officer there stated that he was smelling alcohol.....this is not a private matter, it is a police case, in the casualty deparment at Bhabha Hospital any competent officer could have smelt and recorded it. Why this was not done?" he asked and claimed this was a major discrepency.
Reading out evidence, Desai said "PW-27 says he asked Police Inspector Sachin Suryawanshi to take Salman for drawing blood sample....PW-22 (Sub-Inspector Vijay Salunke) who took him to hospital states that he was told by PW-27....somewhere something happened and something is missing," he said adding, "there is lot of confusion, lot of discrepancies."