Delivering the much-awaited verdict in a courtroom packed with journalists, Bollywood personalities and lawyers, Justice A.R. Joshi said the actor "cannot be convicted" on the basis of the evidences produced by the prosecution in the 13-year-old case and trial.
Accordingly, Salman's conviction and five-year jail term on charges of - among others - "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" has been quashed and set aside by the court.
Important observations of the Bombay HC:
- Delivering the much-awaited verdict, Justice A.R. Joshi said that the actor "cannot be convicted" on the basis of the evidence produced by the prosecution in the 13-year old case and trial.
- Prosecution have failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt this case against Salman khan
- There is no Material to prove the aspect of driving and drinking of the appeals abt
- On the basis of such evidence the court cannot convict him..
- The trail court has erred and its appreciation of the evidence is not legal and proper..
- Investigation has been shoddy.. Especially collecting blood samples and other biological tests..
- The court cannot be Svade by the general public and perception created by the media the court has to analyse in detail the evidence submitted before the court
LIVE Updates below:
- Salman Khan enters his residence through a different entrance after scores of his fans blocked the front entrance of Galaxy Apts
- Galaxy Apartments building, where
@BeingSalmanKhan resides, lit up by his family members
- I accept the decision of the judiciary with humility. I thank my family, friends & fans for their support & prayers:
- Salman Khan leaves for his Bandra residence from Bombay HC (Pics below)
- Will only comment after going through the court order: Devendra Fadnavis , Maharashtra CM
- Salman Khan leaves from courtroom after furnishing a bail bond
- Good that
@BeingSalmanKhan is acquitted, we want compensation amount to reach us now: Abdullah,victim
[caption id="attachment_258563" align="alignnone" width="612"] Abdullah who was rammed by the car outside American Bakery in Bandra said that "I saw Salman Khan standing with one person. I don't know if he drove the car or not."[/caption]
- Poor Salman Khan will have to start his family at the age of 50 bcoz of the slow pace of trial: Subhash Ghai, filmmaker
- Fans cheering outside Salman Khan's residence Galaxy Apts in Bandra
- Unhappy with the
#SalmanVerdict . Victim Noor Ullah Sharif needs to be blamed for his own death Shehzad Poonawalla to ABP News
#SalmanVerdict does not deserve a political reaction.Judgement given on basis of evidence: @ShainaNC,BJP to ABP News
- How will the poor get justice now?: Arvind Bhosle ,Shiv Sena spokesperson to ABP News
#SalmanVerdict is unfortunate.The reality was something different: Arvind Bhosle ,Shiv Sena spokesperson to ABP News
- It is a big relief, justice has been delivered: Baba Siddiqui, Congress to ABP News
- Professional satisfaction after 13 yrs. Great relief to client (Salman Khan), very glad with the outcome:
@BeingSalmanKhan 's lawyer
- Why was Kamaal Khan not produced as a witness in the case, activist-lawyer Abha Singh to ABP News
- We kept on saying that Salman Khan was falsely implicated in the case. Justice finally has been given: Zafar Sareshwala,
- Salman, surrounded by his family members, breaks down after hearing the verdict.
[caption id="attachment_258610" align="alignnone" width="600"] People thronging outside Bombay HC[/caption]
- Reports say
@BeingSalmanKhan turns emotional in courtroom
- Huge crowds assemble outside courtroom
- We should respect judiciary's verdict and abide by it: Babul Supriyo, BJP
- Bombay High Court acquits Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case, and quashes his conviction and 5-year sentence.
- Salman Khan acquitted of all charges
- Operative part of the order to be dictated shortly
- Salman Khan arrives at Bombay HC
- Security tightened in Bombay High Court ahead of
- On the basis of evidence submitted by the prosecution, Salman cannot be convicted, the judge says while dictating verdict.
- Prosecution has failed to establish its case against the appellant accused (Salman Khan) on all charges, the judge says while dictating verdict
- Alvira Khan, Salman Khan's sister present in the court.
- Salman Khan to reach court at 1:30 pm.
- Salman Khan to reach HC in half hour.
- Salman Khan will reach court around 2 pm. He has left from Karjat studio to Bombay High Court.
- On Wednesday, court had described as "a wholly unreliable witness" Salman Khan's deceased police bodyguard who had claimed the actor was drunk during his 2002 hit-and-run crash.
Salman, clad in a dark, checked shirt and jeans, heard out the verdict without emotions but was later seen wiping tears in the court. "I accept the decision with humility. I thank my family, friends and fans for their support and prayers," he tweeted.
Salman's apartment building was lit up with lights while admirers burst firecrackers outside.
The actor's counsel Amit Desai reacted: "After 13 long years, the verdict is a big relief for Salman Khan. It is a full acquittal."
In a guarded reaction, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the government will decide the further course of action after examining the verdict.
Justice Joshi said the "prosecution failed to establish the charges (against Salman) on all counts" and that "it failed to prove that Salman was drunk or driving" at the time of the accident which left a poor man sleeping on the pavement dead and four others injured.
However, the court rejected the defence contention that victim Nurullah Mahboob Khan died due to a crane crash and not due to the accident involving Salman, one of the highest paid actors in Bollywood.
"The prosecution has not proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, and the benefit of doubt goes in favour of the accused (Salman). Bearing in mind the above, the considered view of the court is that the prosecution has failed to establish the case on all charges," the judge ruled.
Demolishing the police investigation, Justice Joshi's judgment came on Salman's appeal challenging his conviction and five-year sentence by the Sessions Court on May 6.
The court also raised questions on the manner in which the police probe was carried out, including the way the biological evidence was gathered and singer-actor Kamaal Khan was withheld as a witness.
It said the unreliable evidence of the first complainant and police bodyguard, the late Ravindra Patil, who was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, was 'inadmissible'.
There was also lack of clarity whether the vehicle's tyre burst before or after the accident.
The judge observed that courts should not get swayed "by popular beliefs that a person of this vocation or profession must have committed the offence.
"We have to go by the law of evidence, not by public/media pressure. According to criminal jurisprudence, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove the guilt.
"The Mumbai Sessions Court order is quashed and set aside, the criminal appeal is allowed. (Salman) is acquitted of all charges. The bail bond stands cancelled and any fine amount deposited has to be refunded, his passport must be returned and a Personal Bond must be executed," Justice Joshi said.
Salman rushed to Mumbai from a shooting schedule in Karjat in adjacent Raigad district following the court's directive to be present on Thursday.
Most family members, including his father and celebrated writer Salim Khan, sisters, brothers and aides flanked him when the judgment was pronounced.
Post-verdict, Salman completed various legal formalities, executing the personal bond in case the prosecution decided to appeal in the case, said Desai.
Social media networks were abuzz with mixed reactions. Fans hailed the verdict and others trashed it.
The actor is battling another case involving the poaching of blackbuck in Jodhpur in Rajasthan in 1998. It is currently sub-judice.
(With IANS inputs)