MUMBAI: A day after Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was convicted and sentenced to 5 years rigorous imprisonment in a 2002 hit-and-run case, the question on everyone’s lips was: Will the Bombay high court admit his appeal and grant him bail today? Even as Bollywood personalities threw their weight behind Khan saying the sentence was too harsh, there was some relief for the actor: the Supreme Court refused to stay the interim bail granted by the HC.
Also, Khan does not have to be physically present in the HC today. Usually, in law, a first appeal against a conviction is admitted by a higher court. But if bail is denied, Khan can go to the Supreme Court the same day.
Sessions judge D W Deshpande’s 240-page judgment, a copy of which came into exclusive possession of TOI first, makes it clear that he did not believe any statement made by the actor in his defence, nor did he believe Khan’s driver Ashok Singh who said it was he, and not.
About Khan, the judge noted: “The accused is a well-known cine actor and had knowledge that one should not drive the vehicle without licence or after consuming liquor and that too late at night. These are basic rules.”
The entire judgment appears to rest primarily on the testimony of police constable Ravindra Patil, who was the actor’s bodyguard and was with him in the Land Cruiser when it rammed into a Bandra bakery at 2.45am on September 28, 2002, killing one and injuring four. Patil.