Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday observed the prosecution has not been able "to prove beyond reasonable doubt" that Bollywood actor Salman Khan was driving the ill-fated vehicle or was under the influence of alcohol on September 28, 2002, when it met with an accident.
Justice A.R. Joshi also said it was difficult to rely on the testimony of the late Ravindra Patil, the police bodyguard assigned to Salman Khan who was in the vehicle that night when the vehicle mowed down one pavement dweller and injured four others in Bandra West.
Besides, the judge noted that the prosecution has not been able to establish whether the incident occurred due to bursting of the vehicle tyre prior to the accident or whether the tyre burst after the incident.
Terming him as "an unreliable witness" Justice Joshi observed it was difficult to accept Patil's answers that the car tyre "burst due to the impact" (of the crash).
The court also observed that in his police statement recorded hours after the accident that day, Patil made no mention about Salman being drunk, but said this only on October 1 (that year) after the blood sample tests reports were received.
On Thursday, Justice Joshi is likely to deliver the much-anticipated verdict in Salman's appeal against the Sessions Court order last May, convicting him to five years' jail on charges, among other things, of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Justice Joshi's observations came during his ongoing dictation of the verdict before the open court since Monday, and is expected to be completed on Thursday.