In a setback to the prosecution in the hit-and-run case allegedly involving the Bollywood actor Salman Khan, the sessions court on Thursday rejected its plea to re-examine an RTO officer who had carried out inspection of the actor’s car after the incident in 2002.
Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat had sought re-examination of R S Ketkar, who worked with Regional Transport Office in 2002, on the ground that he had given “vague and evasive” answers to Khan’s lawyer Srikant Shivade during the cross-examination and certain clarifications were needed to be brought on court’s record.
Judge D W Deshpande, however, rejected the application after the defence objected to it.
Shivade argued the prosecution wanted to bring new facts on record on the pretext of re-examination and it may cause prejudice to the accused (Khan).
If the witness had been “vague and evasive” during the cross-examination, it should only bother the defence and the prosecution need not re-examine him, he said.
Gharat denied that he wanted to bring on record any new facts. The judge, however, said the prosecution can incorporate clarifications in the final arguments.
The court today allowed the prosecution to examine, on January 19, a doctor who had subjected Khan to blood test after the accident to find out if he was drunk.
A police constable, who had taken the actor to government-run JJ Hospital for the test, would also be examined on the same day.
One person died and four were injured when a car, allegedly driven by Khan, ran over them in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.
During the cross-examination earlier, the RTO officer had said he could not say whether the accident had occurred due to the condition of the tyres nor could he remember whether he had mentioned the condition of tyres in his inspection report.
In response to another question by the defence, the officer conceded that the condition of tyres was an important fact and he had not inspected the tyres of the actor’s car.
The witness had also admitted that he was not an expert regarding the rubber and tyres nor was he aware whether the tyres of the car were imported ones.
Most importantly from the defence’s point of view, the officer also conceded that he had not been trained in inspection of imported cars, such as the one involved in the accident.