The Bombay High Court on Thursday acquitted actor Salman Khan of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case. The court has directed the actor, who was present in court for pronouncement of verdict, to furnish a fresh cash bond of Rs 25,000 on cancellation of the bond in the trial court.
The Bandra Police Station has been asked to return his passport upon verification.
Earlier, while disposing of the appeal filed by actor Salman Khan against a five year jail term by a lower court in the 2002 hit-and-run case, the court had said that the prosecution had failed to successfully establish the case on all the charges levelled against the actor. Justice A R Joshi disposed of the appeal and said that order will be given once the actor is present before the court.
“Any strong suspicion cannot be enough to hold someone guilty. Prosecution hasn’t brought material on record to prove case and its entire evidence was based circumstantial in nature,” said Justice Joshi. He said that, while testimony of Salman’ s bodyguard Ravindra Patil could be of a direct nature, the court had already said it could not be considered and the trial court had erred in taking it on record.
He said that he was not “oblivious of perception of general public” but the court must decide the case based on material brought on record. Pointing to the order passed by the Sessions’ Court convicting Salman for five years, Justice Joshi said that “appreciation of evidence by trail court was not proper as per principles of criminal jurisprudence.”
He pointed out that the Sessions Court erred in accepting the bills which were produced by the investigating agency as proof of Salman and friends drinking at Rain Bar.
According to the High Court, the prosecution failed to prove that the actor was drinking and moreover driving the vehicle on the night of the accident.
He also pointed to several hypothesis which were created around the case such as the faulty manner of Investigation where the prosecution failed to establish procedure of connecting chain of evidence with regard to collecting biological evidence. The other point was relating to purposely keeping loose ends so that a favourable order is achieved for the accused.