Mumbai: Observing that the 2002 Salman Khan hit-and-run trial has been going on for 13 years now, a sessions court judge Monday ordered that it be concluded by December.
The court was hearing an adjournment application moved by Khan’s lawyer Shrikant Shivde on the ground that special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat had not given a list of witnesses to be examined reasonably, prior to their examination, as per court’s directions.
“The names of the witnesses to be examined today also have not yet been disclosed. If the names are revealed it would become certain if the presence and identification of the accused would be required. The accused needs to prepare the witnesses for cross-examination,” Shivde argued.
Strongly objecting this application, Gharat argued that there was no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that directs the prosecutor to do so.
“I have already submitted the entire list of witnesses while framing the charges and issuing summons in the case,” Gharat contended.
The judge D W Despande observed that they were were diverting from examining witnesses. Khan also sought exemption from appearing in court on Monday on account of professional assignments in the city.
“I remember I had directed the accused to remain present today ,” Deshpande observed on Monday.
The prosecution “strongly opposed” the exemption application as well.
Though Khan was granted the exemption, the actor is directed to remain present for the next hearing on December 3, when a chemical analysis expert to determine whether Khan was inebriated, the night of the accident and a motor vehicle inspector who worked with Andheri RTO at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile, two witnesses were produced in court. An insurance agent, who was produced by the prosecution, refused to identify the insurance certificate issued for Khan’s vehicle which was allegedly involved in the accident.
Another witness, a counter clerk at the American Express Cleaners laundry said he knew Salman Khan and had seen him in-person when he travelled on the street where the laundry was situated.
The laundry shop is where the actor’s white Landcruiser had allegedly rammed into a pavement on September 28, 2002, killing one and injuring four other who were sleeping there.