Pune-based activist Hemant Patil has filed a petition before the Bombay High Court that seeks an investigation into the mysterious death of Ravindra Patil, a Mumbai Police constable who was the prime witness in the 13-year-old Salman Khan hit-and-run case, says a report by The Times Of India. Patil, who was assigned as a police guard to the actor, was present in the car when the actor allegedly drove it over pavement dwellers in Mumbai's Bandra suburb on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four others.
The petition alleges that Patil's death was "suspicious". Once a well-built Special Operations Squad (SOS) commando, Patil was found on the streets of Mumbai suffering from tuberculosis and passed away in a municipal hospital on October 4, 2007. A fortnight before his death, he had told DNA that the case had "devastated his life and robbed him of his job and health".
He was the first and only one to testify against Salman Khan, alleging that not only had the actor been driving but he was also inebriated. The petition, like many news reports, claim that there was pressure on Patil to turn hostile and retract his statement.
On May 6, Khan was convicted on the charge of culpable homicide and drunken driving and sentenced to five years in prison. However, two days later, Bombay HC suspended the sentence and released the actor on bail pending the hearing of his appeal. On June 15, an appeal hearing at the High Court was adjourned till July 1 over a 'paper book' i.e. compilation of evidence and documents which is served to both the sides by the court that was incomplete.
When Khan's prison sentence was announced, Mid-Day had spoken to Sushilabai Patil, Ravindra's mother. "Today, my son’s soul can truly rest in peace," she had been quoted as saying.
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