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Have Power? Muddle through!

Posted in View Point

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Published on May 15, 2015 with No Comments

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Drunken Driving, without a license, leading to killing of side walkers (or harmless sleepers), any offender is bound to be convicted and send to jail in the shortest possible trial, with hardly any challenge to alcohol test. You only know how the law moves in Canada or USA, not in India. 13 long years for a trial,Bollywood star Salman Khan despite his conviction, doesn’t have to prepare for prison just yet. In a land where legal processes can drag out for years – and where the glitz of Bollywood, power of the politician, money power of the rich, muscle power of the goon goes a long way – he might still escape a sentence. Trial court took 13 years to declare him a convict, and High Court only two days to send him home. From that fateful September morning of1992 that saw one pavement-dweller killed and four others mutilated by Salman’s car by a speeding car that crushed them in their sleep. After a long winded series of trial that saw plenty of drama, disappearance of witness and evidence, bizarre arguments that included alleging that the person who tested the blood sample of Salman Khan was drunk leading to high alcohol content in the blood sample! Diversion and delay tactics put to best use by defence laywer.
Justice for the homeless men, who were crushed under the wheels of Salman’s SUV is still elusive, but the suspension of Salman’s jail sentence in the case is fast and swift. And the way things have played out in Mumbai, it showcased : that the country is only for rich, India despite being inhabited by “children of lesser Gods,” there is no system to deliver justice to them.
The media went hyper in showcasing the finer details of proceedings going down to the details of the attire of the stars who came to visit Salman! A few casted aspirations on the system, and how the rich and mighty can escape the law by deploying lawyers who charge something like Rs 30 Lakhs per hearing. Salman’s case is no different, Puru Rajkumar, who in 1993 was convicted of running over and killing two people in Mumbai, but was eventually released after agreeing to pay the families of the victims the 30,000 rupees each. Another star, Sanjay Dutt, who was arrested in 1993 for illegal possession of arms, has been in and out of in jail before being convicted and reimprisoned in 2013, after which he has been periodically released on parole. Manu Sharma of the famous Jessica Lal Murder case enjoys similar privileges courtesy family’s political connections.
More than causing a misery to those directly affected on that fateful morning, Salman has been adopting dubious ways to come out clean of the case. Another horrific story associated with the case is that of Ravindra Patil,Salman’s body guard. Patil a constable with the Mumbai Police, was assigned as Salman’s bodyguard in September 2002 after the actor complained of underworld threats and was in the car when the accident occurred and he the first one to lodge a police complaint that it was indeed the actor who driving the SUV. Media reports from India indicate that Patil, was put under pressure to withdraw his statement, and was jailed and kept with hardened criminals as he failed to appear for court dates. There are allegations that he was ill treated and tortured and not given treatment despite diagnosed with Tuberculosis and died on the roads of Bombay uncared for. Price paid for being an honest police officer and having witnessed the actor carry out the gruesome act.
The session court judge nailed attempts by Salman’s lawyers to pin the blame on his driver Ashok Singh, the only defence witness who was suddenly brought up at the last stage of the 13- year-long trial, when all odds appeared stacked against Salman.Singh testified that it was he who drove the vehicle that the prosecution claimed Salman drove in a drunken state. But Judge Deshpande was not convinced.
Salman has been running a charity by the name “Being Human”. His line of attack to wriggle out of the case by being total inhuman speaks volumes of his imminence to Being Human.
The case throws a light on the shoddy investigation carried out where it failed to even summon the fourth occupant Kamaal Khan, shows that Salman had made the Mumbai Police too toe his line in making the case weak.
That’s how rich, famous and influential dictate terms in India, and poor are made to rot waiting for the system to deliver that is made to cripple just like those feeble and poor.

 

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