Hit-and-run case: Salman withdraws SC plea seeking Kamaal Khan’s examination

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was finally acquitted of all the charges in the infamous 2002 hit-and-run case. The actor has now reportedly withdrawn his appeal in the Supreme Court seeking examination of singer Kamaal Khan as a witness in the 13-year-old case.

Kamaal Khan who was with Salman at the time of the incident was a major missing link in the case. While dictating the verdict in the case pertaining to the actor’s appeal against his conviction, Bombay High Court Justice A.R. Joshi had mentioned that Kamaal Khan, who is currently out of the country, should have been examined.

The trial court had issued summons to the singer, but matters were not followed up further. Last month, when the case against Salman’s conviction in the hit-and-run case was being heard in the High Court, the actor’s lawyer Amit Desai filed an appeal to make Kamaal Khan a witness in the case under Criminal Procedure Code's (CrPC) section 391, on if additional evidence required while hearing the appeal.

However, the court dismissed the petition ruling that recourse to this section is taken in special cases where circumstances specially warrant it. "There is nothing to show that, but for the substantial evidence of Kamaal Khan, no decision can be taken in the appeal," Justice Joshi ruled.

He added that if there was no dire need for Kamaal Khan's examination and if the available material can be analysed, then recourse to section 391 was not the ultimate requirement. The judge also noted that when the prosecution had informed the sessions court that Kamaal Khan could not be traced.

While dictating the final verdict, the court observed that prosecution has not been able “to prove beyond reasonable doubt” that Salman Khan was driving the vehicle or was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

It also termed the key witness Ravindra Patil, Salman’s then police bodyguard “not wholly reliable witness” and said it was difficult to rely on his testimony. It asserted that the trial court had made a mistake by admitting his statement.

The major relief for Salman came seven months the trial court convicted him in the case and awarded him five-year sentence.