In a new twist to more than a decade long Salman Khan hit and run case a witness, the manager of the bar that actor Salman Khan had visited on the night of the 2002 incident identified the accused but was not sure whether the actor had taken drinks.
This has contradicted the prosecution’s case which claims that the actor had taken drinks in "Rain Bar" along with his friends and was allegedly under the influence of liquor on September 28, 2002, when his car rammed into a bakery in suburban Bandra killing one person and injuring four others.
The witness was testified in court n the presence of Khan and a packed courtroom. "Salman's group had ordered drinks and snacks but I am not sure whether Salman had consumed drinks himself as the order had been taken by a waiter and not me," Rizwan, who was the manager of Rain Bar at the relevant time, told the court of sessions judge DW Deshpande.
As the restaurant was full, Salman and his brother Sohail Khan were standing in front of service counter. After some time they occupied a table and ordered drinks and snacks, Rizwan said during examination. "I saw Salman holding a glass but it was full with a colourless liquid like water," said the Manager.
Asked if it was liquor, Rizwan said he was not sure because the order had been taken down by a waiter. Rizwan further said that he had escorted the group to the main door of the restaurant when they were leaving the bar between 1.15am to 1.30am. "However, Salman was not smelling of liquor and he was also walking like a normal person," said the manager in reply to a question put by prosecutor Jagannath Kenjralkar. Rizwan was shown bills of the particular table which was occupied by Salman and his group. He identified the bills saying that these belonged to Rain Bar.
During cross-examination by Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade, Rizwan said that from his cabin he could not see who was standing at the counter as the lights in the restaurant were dim. He further said it is not possible to say who was consuming drinks and having snacks.
Earlier a waiter of the same bar had identified Salman coming to the restaurant with friends. He had also said that he had not noticed the actor consuming drinks, although his group had ordered.
Both these witnesses were examined by the prosecution to convince the court that the actor had consumed drinks before the mishap on the ill-fated day. Salman Khan is being tried under section 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, the maximum sentence for which is ten years imprisonment. One person was killed and four others injured in the mishap. Khan had been accused of causing death and injury by driving under the influence of alcohol.
(With inputs from PTI)