Salman Acquittal: High Court’s Stunning U-Turn from Lower Court 

Salman Khan is a free man because the Bombay High Court departed from the lower court’s stand.

2 min read
A tense -looking Salman Khan on his way to the Bombay High Court (Photo : PTI)

The Bombay High Court’s Justice AR Joshi has demolished all the reasons Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande had given for convicting Salman Khan.

In his judgement, Justice Joshi has held that the prosecution has failed to conclusively prove who was driving the car on that fateful night, and hence, the entire case against Khan collapses. He refused to believe the prosecution’s charge that it was not Ashok Singh but the Bollywood star who had rammed the Toyota Land Crusier into Bandra’s American Express Bakery.


Key Witness’s Testimony Discarded

The prosecution had relied on the testimony of Constable Ravindra Patil, who was then Salman’s bodyguard, and in its 6 May judgement, the Sessions Court held that this testimony was the substantive piece of evidence, and entirely credible.

But the High Court disagreed, holding that Patil’s testimony in court was tainted because he had made substantial “improvements” upon what he had initially told the police.

Initially, Salman was charged under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code- causing death by negligence. It was much later, based on Patil’s testimony, that the prosecution upped the charges to Section 304- II- culpable homicide not amounting to murder. In the eyes of the High Court, this was because Patil (who is now deceased and can no longer defend himself) had changed his statement and attributed a more criminal role to Khan.

High Court: Key witness Ravindra Patil had ‘improvised’ upon his testimonies.

This directly contradicts the Sessions Court’s holding that there were no infirmities in what Patil told the court, and there were no embellishments in his statements either.

Salman Was Not Driving the Car

From the very outset, Salman’s defence team had claimed that Ashok Singh was driving the car. The prosecution challenged this version, contending that if it was indeed the case, why the defence had never cross-examined any of the eyewitnesses on whether it was Singh or Khan who was at the wheels. The Sessions Court accepted this argument, and also held that Singh was a self-condemned liar. This is because it was only much later into the trial that he tried to take the blame upon himself.

Sessions Court: Ashok Singh was a self-condemned liar; High Court: Singh is credible.

This was wrong, the High Court has held, and stated that the Sessions Court had been swayed by public pressure and hence refused to believe Ashok Singh.

The High Court’s judgement, which is yet to be made available to the public at the time of writing, is reported to contain a host of other reasons for overturning the Sessions Court’s rulings, but the above are why Salman is a free man today.

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