Documents missing in paper-book, says Salman Khan’s lawyer in HC

Mumbai: Adding a new twist in the hearing of the appeal filed by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan in the Bombay High Court against his five-year sentence in the 2002 hit-and-run case, his lawyer today claimed that certain documents were missing from the `paper-book’.

Paper-book is compilation of evidence, documents, prepared by the court registry and submitted to both the sides before the appeal is heard.

Salman Khan. AFP

The prosecution and the defence had heated arguments over the issue today, with the latter slamming the prosecution for its earlier statement that the paper-book was in order.

An application was filed by senior counsel Amit Desai, Salman’s lawyer, before Justice A R Joshi alleging that some documents pertaining to the defence were not found in the paper-book and therefore the defence couldn’t argue.

Among other things, the paper-book did not have a document pertaining to the media interview given by Ravindra Patil, a policeman who was then Salman’s bodyguard and who was a witness to the accident. Patil, who died during the trial, had contradicted himself on the statement given before a magistrate in this interview, the application said.

It was a very vital document for the defence to prove that Patil was not telling the truth, it said.

Patil had stated before the magistrate that Salman was driving the car at the time and was under the influence of liquor.

The prosecutors Purnima Kantharia and S S Shinde pointed out that though the paper-book may not have this document, it had been placed in the “records and proceedings” and hence it was available for the defence lawyer.

However, Desai maintained that the paper-book should be prepared according to HC rules, which was not done. The charge was refuted by the prosecution.

Justice Joshi then posted the matter for tomorrow when he would rule on the application filed by Desai.

“This is one-sided and bound to cause prejudice…there has to be a sense of responsibility, what we want is strict compliance of the HC manual,” Desai said, adding that some documents which were not required were included in the paper-book while essential ones had been “conveniently ignored.”

Prosecutor Kantharia argued that when the paper-book was finalised by the registry, two junior advocates from the defence side were present. “The paper-book comes from the trial court,” she said, adding that whenever the defence team wants to refer to something outside the paper-book, they can look at the `records and proceedings’ of the case.

Desai, however, said: “document ‘D-1′ was not included….it is an important document for me…..I want every document shown to a witness to be included.”

Salman, who is on bail, did not come to the court today. His sister Alvira was, however, present.

Salman was convicted by the sessions court here on 6 May this year on various counts including culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

One person was killed and four were injured when the actor’s Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle ran over them on a pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.

The High Court, on May 8, granted Salman bail while admitting his appeal.

Salman has challenged the findings of the trial court that he was drunk and was driving under the influence of liquor. The trial court wrongly convicted him under the culpable homicide charge because he had no `knowledge’ that he would meet with an accident, he has said.

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