Witness in Salman Khan's case identifies articles

Friday, 2 May 2014 - 7:31pm IST | Agency: PTI

A witness in the 2002 hit-and-run case, involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan today identified articles seized by police from the accident spot but denied during cross-examination that he was tutored by police to draw the 'panchnama'.

"I am able to identify them as the articles which were seized by police from the spot where the car had met with an accident", said Samba Gowda, a tea vendor who had drawn the 'panchnama' after the mishap.
The witness was being examined by public prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar. He is the first one to depose in the re-trial of this case.

Among the articles seized by police after the mishap were broken glass pieces, some parts of vehicle's bumper, blood-soaked soil and a portion of the shop's shutter.

On September 28, 2002, the actor had run over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group of persons sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra, killing one and injuring four others.
During cross-examination by defence lawyer Srikant Shivade, the witness denied that he was tutored by police.

"It would be wrong to say that police had not taken me to the accident spot and that later I was asked to sign the panchnama," the witness said.

To another question, the witness said, "I do not know whether the car was taken away by a crane before or after the panchnama was drawn."

Gowda further said that the papers of the car were not seized and also police did not open the door of the car.

However, when he was confronted with the 'panchnama' which made a mention of these things, the witness could not say as to why the police had recorded this.

To another question by advocate Shivade, the witness said, "I do not know who wrote the panchnama". He later said "police wrote it and I signed it".

"I did not personally supervise or note down the measurement taken by police of the distance between the shutter of the shop and the car", said Gowda, who hails from Karnataka.

The witness told Salman's lawyer that he does not hold a Licence to run the tea shop located near Bandra police station and also admitted that the civic body had fined him many times for this.
However, Gowda denied that he had signed the 'panchnama' only because police asked him to do so.

On May 6, the prosecution would examine an eye witness who was injured in the mishap. The court has asked Salman to be present on that day.

On December 5 last year, the court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that the witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide, which was invoked against the actor midway through the case.

The charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder attracts a 10-year sentence. The actor had earlier been tried by a magistrate for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence, which entailed an imprisonment of two years.

The case, dragging on for over a decade, had taken a twist earlier this year when the magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court, as cases under this offence are tried by a higher court.

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