The much awaited verdict of the highly publicized 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan has finally arrived. To many people’s shock and surprise, Salman Khan was acquitted by the Bombay High Court today at 1 pm after the prosecution couldn’t prove that the actor was driving the car and was under the influence of alcohol while driving. Mohammad Kalim and four other men were sleeping on the pavement outside the America Express Bakery in Bandra, when Salman Khan’s Toyota Land Cruiser ran them over on September 28, 2002. Mr Kalim sustained serious injuries while his friend Nurullah, died. Salman was facing a five year sentence awarded to him by a Mumbai Sessions Court on May 6.
Ravindra Patil who was the police bodyguard of the actor had implicated Salman. However Justice AR Joshi considered Patil to be an unreliable witness considering that he had made changes in his statement given to the Magistrate. The Judge also pointed out that singer Kamaal Khan should have been examined by the prosecution. Kamaal Khan was accompanying Salman Khan in the car when the accident occurred.
The court also recognized that the deposition of Ashok Singh, the family driver of Salim Khan, was as per rules and laid down procedures of criminal law.
Mr Kalim who sustained injuries on his hands, legs and back, however states that Salman’s verdict doesn’t matter to him if he doesn’t get the compensation he deserves. He previously received Rs. 1.5 lakh as compensation which was spent on his medical procedures.
Mr. Kalim was among three other witnesses who had testified last May in the court that after being hit by the car, Salman Khan fled the scene while other people rushed to their rescue.
Twitter is flooded with mixed reactions with some people condemning the judgement and some cheering for the actor.