Taking a serious note of the prosecution plea that original documents in the hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan were untraceable, a sessions court today directed Bandra police to trace them by August 21 while exempting the star from appearance for the day.
The court allowed an application filed by the actor seeking exemption from appearance on the ground that he was not required in the trial as witnesses were not called for examination today. Judge D W Deshpande directed Bandra police to trace the original documents which were alleged to be missing and also ordered that case diaries be produced at the next hearing.
Police told the court that some original documents, including statements of witnesses, were not traceable and sought time to locate them. However, it told the court that 'true copies' were available on record. The investigating officer informed that only 7 out of 63 original statements were available.
Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade insisted on police placing original documents before the court during the trial. The trial in the case is being conducted afresh by a sessions court. On December 5 last year, the sessions court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which was invoked against the actor by a magisterial court midway through the hearing.
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 when the magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court as cases under this offence can only be tried by a higher court.
On September 28, 2002, the actor's car had rammed into a bakery, killing one person and injuring four people sleeping on the pavement outside.