Salman Khan case: The murder of a witness

Posted: 5 years ago


In India, the testimony of the prime witness is considered the most important document in a criminal case, which often influences the final verdict.

In the 2002 hit-and-run case of Salman Khan, the man who found himself in the epicenter of the controversy, was the prime witness of the case constable Ravindra Patil.

Those close to Patil admitted that he was under enormous pressure to change his statement.

There were many who wanted Patil to change his statement. They preferred that Patil maintain that Salman leaned back to listen to him seconds before he lost control of the wheel. This would mean that the accident was caused by a 'human error' and not because he was drunk. Some people wanted him to say that Salman was not drunk at the time of the accident.

Whatever be the case, Patil did not change his statement till the last day.

It was unclear who was putting pressure on Patil some say they were all 'well-wishers' of Salman Khan from the police force while others say that those talking to Patil were Salman's common friends from the film industry. Whoever they were, the pressure tactic seemed to be working as Patil was showing signs of a nervous break-down.

Why was Ravindra Patil so vulnerable?

Patil was a constable and hence belonged to the lowest rung in the police force. He admitted numerous times that he was under pressure and he would always try to duck the media.

During 2006, when the examination of witnesses was on, Salman had hired the best lawyers in Mumbai who were all charged up to cross-examine Patil. But then, something unexpected happened. Patil just ran away one evening. His brother lodged a missing report about Patil at a local police station.

Day after day, Patil chose to skip court dates because he didn't want to face the defence lawyer. Soon, Patil came under scrutiny of the court because he remained absent at the court hearings. The court proceedings were stuck because Patil was absent in the witness-box. It also came to light that he had run away without applying for leave.

In a strange twist of fate, a man who had actually lodged the first information report against Salman Khan now had an arrest warrant issued against him for not turning up at court hearings. The arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear for five consecutive court dates.

As the judge ordered that he be arrested and produced in court, his seniors at the police force simultaneously approved that Patil be sacked from his job because he was absent from duty. His seniors chose to ignore the fact that technically Patil was 'missing' and not 'absent' according to their own records.

Nobody was interested in knowing why he had run away from his house. Or, why the same person who was so forthcoming in lodging a complaint against a Bollywood star like Salman Khan, didn't want to take the witness-box. Patil was never put under any witness protection programme.

Patil was sent to Arthur Road jail with hardened criminals

Like how they deal with a hardened criminal, a task force was prepared to nab Patil and find out where he was 'hiding'. Finding him was easier than anybody had thought because Patil was not hiding anywhere. Ravindra Patil was actually staying in a small hotel in Mahabaleswar, just a few kilometres away from Mumbai. He would come to Mumbai often to meet his wife and family. He was not on the run from the police and was going around telling everybody that he wanted to stay away from the Salman Khan case.

He had repeatedly requested his colleagues in Mumbai Police to work out a way so that he can be spared from the case. The problem was: He was the prime witness and without him the case didn't stand a chance in a court of law.

How many of you hate going to court? How many of you don't like how witnesses are grilled in criminal cases by defence lawyers? Well, if I go by Patil's example, then all of you should be put in jail. Believe it or not, Ravindra Patil was sent to jail because of this 'crime'.

The special police team swooped down on him, arrested him and produced at the court, the next day. The court sent him to Arthur Road jail, the biggest jail of Mumbai where most of the high-profile criminals are lodged.

Here are pictures after Patil's arrest post a raid at a Mahabaleshwar hotel.

In Arthur Road jail, Ravindra Patil was incarcerated in a separate cell like they would treat an armed dacoit or a serial killer. Patil submitted fervent pleas that he doesn't want to be grouped with criminals at the Arthur Road jail but the court was in no mood to relent.

Twice, Patil filed applications saying that he is a witness and that he be held at Unit nine of the Crime Branch and twice the court ignored the application. In his applications, Patil went on record saying that he went absconding as he was mentally disturbed at the thought of being cross-examined by defence lawyers. But nobody seemed to be interested in what he was saying.

If the courts didn't pay heed to his pleas, his employers the Mumbai Police seemed to be on some revenge spree. A 'missing' Patil suddenly became an 'absconding' Patil in their own files and subsequently sacked from his job. This junior-most employee in the force tried every trick in the book to convince his senior officers that he should not be sacked from his job. But nobody was ready to listen.

A witness was suddenly at the receiving end of it all. Life was dealing this grand witness blows after blows while Salman Khan delivered hits after hits at the box office.

The last days of Ravindra Patil

After Patil was let out of jail, he found himself in a strange situation his family had disowned him and the Mumbai Police was not ready to take him back. Patil didn't know what to do suddenly he was the victim because he saw the accident and spoke about it.

A broken man by then, Ravindra Patil went missing again.

Patil was finally discovered at the Sewri Municipal hospital in 2007. Patil was begging on the streets of Mumbai before he landed up at the hospital. The years of acute stress coupled with heavy drinking had made his body weak. Worse, he had contracted a drug-resistant tuberculosis which fast tracked him towards an inevitable end.

Patil wanted to get back in the police force but he was just a bag of bones lying on bed number 189 of ward number four on the fourth-floor of Sewri TB Municipal Hospital. His family members were not aware where he was and nobody had come to see him for a year.

Here are some moving pictures of Ravindra Patil, just days before his death.

Constable Ravindra Patil died on October 4, 2007.

Even after his death, there was nobody to take back his body. The friend who had admitted him to the hospital was so scared that he didn't even inform his family. In the end, his brothers came forward to perform the last rites.

Before his death, Patil spoke to his friend expressing his wish to get back to the force again while throwing up blood on the cold floors of the Sewri Municipal hospital.

"I stood by my statement till the end, but my department did not stand by me. I want my job back, I want to survive. I want to meet the police commissioner once," were his last words.

Clearly, even God chose not to hear him.

Ravindra Patil never rested in peace.

Edited by OrganizedChaos - 5 years ago
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Posted: 5 years ago
This was a super brave post put up by Bollywood Journalist on his site. 

But you and I both know why it was taken down. Opening this thread to make it be read by as many as possible.
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Posted: 5 years ago

Being a Bully

How Salman Khan got a blogger to pull down a post he didn't like

BY Lhendup G Bhutia EMAIL AUTHOR(S)
Tagged Under | Mumbai | Salman Khan | Ravindra Patil
It Happens
WAS HE VICTIMISED? Ravindra Patil (left) at the Bandra police station in 2006 (Photo: PRAKASH PARSEKAR/DNA)

There are two versions about Salman Khan's nature. He's the lion-hearted superstar humanitarian (as he calls himself on Twitter). He is the brash and cocky bhai' who doesn't mind working his clout or fists to get what he wants. Recently, and not for the first time, the latter avatar of the actor came to the fore. He bullied a blogger into pulling down a blog post that was not to his liking.

The blog in question,, is written by an entertainment journalist, Soumyadipta Banerjee, from Mumbai. In one post, he wrote about the mysterious case of Ravindra Patil, the police constable who was assigned as a bodyguard to Khan and was in the Land Cruiser that ran over four homeless people in Bandra. In his statement to the police, Patil claimed that Khan was behind the wheel and was drunk. And that the actor had not slowed down despite Patil's advice. This is a crucial detail. A sessions court judge relied on this to rule that the actor should be tried for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304. This could mean a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail.

According to news reports, Patil was under pressure to change his statement. He went missing and was eventually discharged from the police force. He was located many months later, suffering from tuberculosis, and died in 2007.

In the blog post, Banerjee hinted that Patil was pressured by Salman's well-wishers in the police and film fraternity.

Salman wasn't happy.

He sent Banerjee a legal notice, threatening action if the posts were not taken off. Banerjee has not spoken to the media. On 8 July, he wrote on his blog, The last two days have been really excruciating for me. I have received a communication from Mr Salman Khan. There I have been instructed to remove two blog posts that I have written about him. Those articles have been removed from this blog. Here's a public apology to Mr Salman Khan for writing two blog posts that he didn't consider appropriate.'

Many are aghast at the manner in which the actor reacted. Well-known film journalist Rauf Ahmed says infotech laws are often misused to target those whose views are not convenient to people. "Salman had no right to threaten the blogger with a notice. He may not be able to take on a newspaper or a magazine for what they write. But a blogger is an easy target."

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Posted: 5 years ago
His family did not even know he was hospitalized. His 19 year old 'friend' who admitted him to the hospital did not even inform his parents or family for MONTHS. Pretty sure he was paid or threatened to shut his mouth, so that no one tries to save him. Witness gone = hopeless case. So many cases have been rejected just on the basis of lack of witness. So this is what they plotted. This is why it isn't a death, it's a MURDER. Dead

Edited by OrganizedChaos - 5 years ago
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[Content Removed]
Posted: 5 years ago
On Saturday, 28 September 2002, Salman was drinking at a nightclub in Juhu called Rain. He then drove down St Andrew's Road in Bandra, and did not turn where the road hit a dead end next to the lane I lived. His Land Cruiser crashed into the workers of A1 Bakery, sleeping on the steps of a shop. He killed one man, Noorulla Sharif, and wounded or crippled four.

Salman, ever the hero, ran away, leaving those migrants bleeding and dying. They testified to seeing him get down from the driver's seat. He surrendered 8 hours later, still with 62 mg of alcohol in his blood.

His police guard, constable Ravindra Patil, was blamed by Salman for driving. Patil lost his job and was disowned by his family. A newspaper published a photograph of him sitting on the floor of a bare room, skeletal from tuberculosis he had no money to treat. He died alone and bankrupt, at the age of 30 in 2007.

This had no effect on Salman's popularity, and in fact his best period was ahead of him.

In a civilized nation, his audience would be repelled as Americans were with Errol Flynn after he was accused of statutory rape. Fortunately he's popular in a culture with low morality and he can laugh off his behaviour. His charisma is intact.

Asked by The Times of India in 2007 why he had so few endorsements, he said he didn't get them: "Arre, milte nahin hain endorsements.
Karna kaun nahin chahta (I don't get endorsements ...who would not want to do them)?" His explanation was that the cases against him put advertisers off, but that's wrong. Nobody cares about that. It's his image as a mass--that is, lower class--star.

Jailed for poaching, Salman appeared in court wearing a skull cap. He claimed this was not for sympathy, but it's hard to dismiss the feeling that it was. He's almost never seen in one otherwise and the Khan family prides itself on its pluralist traditions.

A 2002 interview

What exactly happened on the 28th Sept, the fateful night? 
Well I had gone to the Rain bar where I had a few Bacardis and was on my way home late night when the Toyota Landcruiser suddenly swerved into the American Express laundry on Hill Road. Believe me it was so sudden that noone could have anticipated that something like this will happen. The next thing that I saw was that a man was dead and a few others were injured. For a few seconds I was completely numb but then I gathered myself together and got down to see what had actually happened. I wanted to take the injured to the hospital but soon there was a crowd and they stared to attack me and started throwing stones at me. I was hurt at several places all over my body. In the melee, somebody even snatched my wristwatch and my wallet. A few of the people around saved me and told me to get out of there. 

Who was at the wheel?
As I have said earlier that my driver Ashok Singh was driving and I was sitting behind. 

But Kamal Khan, who was with you, has told the police that you were at the wheel. And there are many eyewitnesses who would vouch for that.

That is not true. I was not driving, Ashok was. I don't know what Kamal said and I don't believe that. Ashok was at the wheel and he was not driving very fast as some newspapers have reported. Its hard to say what exactly happened that night, probably the brakes failed but whatever happened I am sorry for that. That night I cried a lot because I couldn't do anything for the injured people.

SS: But you must've thought a lot in prison
SK: In any case, I get a lot of time to think. Didn't have to go to
jail to think. I do think a lot. The accident was very unfortunate. I
wasn't even driving but no one wanted to listen to me. What can one
do? What was destined, happened.

The thing I'm saddest about is the mother whose son died and whom
I've still not met because if I meet her someone will say I'm trying
to buy evidence. Her condition makes me most sad. Her image keeps
coming back to me whenever I try to sleep. It haunts me. How will she
survive in her small hut? That is the thing, which makes me most mad.
I can't bring her son back to life. I can only say maaji, I'm very

Accidents mean accidents, it was a mistake. But why is there so much
hatred and animosity against me? I don't think I deserve it. No one
tried to verify rumours. The media carried reports without cross-
checking information. It was only when my fans started getting upset
that people started coming out with the truth. Is it some kind of a
game of money and power?

Then they say I'm rich and powerful. If I was so rich, powerful and
so famous how come I ended up in jail? There are a lot many people
who are much more richer and powerful than me. They are the ones who
send people like me to jail. Why did I have to go to jail to repent?
Why couldn't I have repented at home? Why did people try to change
the law?
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Posted: 5 years ago

by Varsha Bhosle

Do you remember the BMW case? Let me refresh your memory: On January 10, 1999, a BMW driven by an inebriated Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of the former Chief of Naval Staff and arms dealer Admiral S L Nanda, ran over sleeping pavement-dwellers in Delhi. His friends Manik Kapoor and Siddharth Gupta, sons of wealthy businessmen, were with him. Three people died on the spot while two received serious injuries. Sanjeev sped away - and ran over three policemen at the picket, killing them, too, on the spot. When he was brought to the police station, Sanjeev was still drunk. He was caught only because an oil leak from the spot had led the police to Siddharth's house - where the car had been washed of the blood and flesh by Siddharth's father and his employees. The pillar of Delhi's elite society had destroyed evidence of homicide.

The police usually register fatal accidents under Section 304A, causing death by negligence, a bailable offence. But the circumstances led them to lodge this case under Section 304, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, a non-bailable offence. The accused were defended by a battery of lawyers, who argued that they should be granted bail. Senior advocate and Congress member R K Anand contended that the police had falsely registered a case of culpable homicide when there was no witness, and said, "even knowledge that the car may kill or injure someone fatally, cannot be imputed." In between, Sanjeev, a hatta-katta 21 year old, complained of "chest pains" and was shifted to a hospital. In the meantime, he had had the presence of mind to refuse to undergo an identification parade...

Where there's money, there are hostile witnesses: Manoj Malik, the lone survivor of the hit-'n-run, told the court that he was hit by a truck. Key witness Hari Shankar refused to identify the BMW. Sunil Kulkarni absconded. In fact, none of the witnesses supported the prosecution. In the end, Siddharth and Manik were granted bail. As for Sanjeev, the Delhi high court imposed a bond and surety amounting to Rs 45 crores, then reduced it to Rs 15 crores (peanuts for an arms dealer, anyway), and allowed Sanjeev - a British national - to travel abroad. And that's the last I've heard of that.

Remember Jessica Lall, the Delhi model who was killed at a party for refusing to serve a drink to a drunk guest? Manu Sharma, the son of a minister in the Narasimha Rao government, whipped out his semi-automatic pistol and shot her at point-blank range in a room filled with people. After which, Manu and his friends, including Vikas Yadav - the son of Rajya Sabha member D P Yadav - fled. Vikas (charged in 1991 for the murder of a young student in Hathras, UP), kept Manu's car at his father's house for two days and changed the shattered windscreen and number plates before abandoning it. It was an "open and shut" case, with no need for gathering circumstantial evidence, with plenty of eyewitnesses, many of whom were Jessica's friends.

Or so the police thought. But, where there's money, there are hostile witnesses: As the case dragged on, the star witnesses began turning hostile. Even Jessica's colleague, who had filed the FIR, denied that Manu had fired the shot. Other witnesses followed suit. Then, crucial files relating to the case were found to be tampered with... Last I heard of Manu was in January this year, when the Delhi high court granted him bail on a bond and sureties amounting to a mere Rs 3 lakhs. For a murder committed in cold blood.

With such lofty precedents, do you for a moment believe that Salman Khan will spend another night in jail...?

The publication that's really a catalogue of music/film/concert promotions disguised as news, stated on October 1, "There was no trace of alcohol in Salman Khan's blood," even when other reports indicated "double the permissible limit." And on October 15, under the headline, "NGOs say Salman Khan is a kind-hearted man," it ran a story on "the charitable and humane side of Salman Khan, one which has not been much publicised earlier."

Yes it has been - and widely. To give just two instances from the publication itself: "On the other hand, he's been raising funds for Kargil victims, doing his bit for Cancer patients, and generally just being a good boy" (Times of India, August 4, 1999); "One little-known aspect of Salman's life is his various acts of charity. Besides being very generous with his donations, the actor visits AIDS and cancer patients every week" (Filmfare, July 2002 issue).

Furthermore, the catalogue bombarded us with the views of highly educated, distinguished psychologists on Salman. For example, Sushmita Sen ("Why is everyone behaving as if they have never made a mistake in their lives?"), Fardeen Khan ("he's a very misunderstood person"), Sunil Shetty ("I can vouch for the fact that he's a good soul"), Arjun Rampal ("I fail to understand why journos are stating that he needs psychiatric treatment"), Boney Kapoor ("He is not a monster"), and Sanjay Leela Bhansali ("genuinely a tender-hearted human being").

Point is, because Dawood Ibrahim regularly fed the poor at dargahs, should his crimes be condoned...?

However, this customary imbecility didn't bother me. What got my goat was the picture of Salman Khan in the knitted white skull cap used by Muslims splashed on all the front pages, which, of course, was preceded by feeds about his praying five times a day and voluntarily eating jail food. This was the first time we saw Nanga Pehelwan in, shall we say, ethnic wear. Salman is going to play that which is handled beautifully by our politicians - the religious card. I say this with absolute certainty because he's played it once before - in the blackbuck poaching case.

Public memory is awfully short and I'm gonna fix yours: In September 1998, while shooting a film in Jodhpur, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu, Neelam Kothari and Satish Shah hunted every night for chinkaras and peacocks - both, protected species. After several days of this, the Great Brown Hunters went to Gudha Bishnoi and shot two blackbucks. As the blackbucks thrashed about on the ground, Salman got out of his Gypsy to slash their throats. However, the gunshots had brought the villagers, who saw Salman and the dying blackbucks. The film stars fled, leaving the blackbucks behind. But the villagers had recognised Salman and noted the number of the Gypsy.

Next day, the villagers reported the incident to forest officials and filed a complaint naming Salman Khan as the poacher. Forest officials immediately seized the dead blackbucks and the Gypsy. On inspection, they concluded that the Gypsy had earlier ferried chinkaras. A subsequent enquiry revealed that Salman Khan had hunted chinkaras in Mathania, too.

The Bishnois worship blackbucks as "Jhambaji," and were not about to let the sacrilege pass. When they doubted the pace of the investigation, they began a dharna in Jodhpur, demanding the arrest of the poachers. Finally, forest officials took the film stars into custody, and after grilling them for 7 hours, homed in on Salman as the main accused. On October 12, Salman's application for anticipatory bail was rejected and he was arrested. On October 13, he pleaded innocence and charged that he was being falsely implicated for "political" reasons.

But what happened on October 14, is straight out of the casebook of O J Simpson: Loudspeaker-fitted vehicles drove around the Muslim localities, announcing that Salman was in difficulty and that Sohail Khan wanted to address the Muslims to get their support for his brother. Muslims were urged to assemble at the stadium grounds to hear Sohail, who charged that his brother was a "victim of politics." But when people started gathering at the venue, the local police swiftly swung into action and dispersed the crowd.

Nevertheless, the harm had been done: Thousands of people gathered outside the court room, the Bishnois raising the slogan "Hirnon ke hatyaron ko phansi do," which was instantly met with a vociferous "Salman Khan zindabad " from the Muslims, who now believed that the case was being manipulated by the then BJP state government. In Jodhpur, it's become a case of Hindus vs Muslims. Just as OJ's had become Whites vs Blacks...

In the meantime, the forest officials of Jodhpur and Bombay recovered the arms used for poaching, as well as a Mauser, a Magnum and a 12-bore gun kept by Salman's family without any licence. The raiding party also found in his father Salim Khan's farm house two live chinkaras, one blackbuck and one peacock, which are enlisted as protected animals and birds in Schedule I of the Protection of Wildlife Act.

While all this evidence was turning up, this "nice boy" (according to Dr Rishi Kapoor), was busy claiming, "I am innocent and being implicated in the poaching case without any reason. I myself love wild animals. How can I shoot them?" In the meantime, his near and dear ones sponsored a post-mortem report from the government veterinarian, Dr Narain Nepalia, which said that the blackbucks died of overeating and dog bites... The Forest Department exhumed the blackbucks and ordered a fresh autopsy by a board of vets. Marks of bullet shots were found, Nepalia was suspended and charged with giving a false post-mortem report.

The Forest Department then went into overdrive and filed four cases against Salman. Two charge him with shooting chinkaras; another pertains to violation of the Arms Act; the fourth names him as the main accused in the shooting of two blackbucks. When the combined cases went to court, guess what... where there's money, there are hostile witnesses:

Key prosecution witness Dinesh Gawra, who held the spot light as Salman hunted, has absconded. 
In May this year, witnesses Kanwara Ram and Rupa Ram denied giving a statement to the police that they had seen the Gypsy. Pukh Raj said he had seen a vehicle but could not identify it. 
In June, prosecution witnesses Daulat Ram and Sumnesh Limba told the court that the knife (used for slitting the necks of the animals) was lying on the table in the police station, whereas the recovery memo stated that it was handed over by Sohail Khan in their presence. 
In July, Arun Kumar Yadav, the owner of the Gypsy, told the court, "Whatever I told in my earlier statement about the animal blood on the seats of the Gypsy and the stinking smell coming from it and also the finding of bullets from inside the vehicle while washing it was not based on my personal knowledge."
Such, then, are the antecedents of Salman Khan, Esquire. And, such is the family supporting him. Is it any wonder why singer Kamaal Khan, who was in the car when Salman crushed to death the worker in Bandra, told the police that his friend wasn't driving the Landcruiser when the accident occurred...? Salman, in a police statement, has denied that he was driving the vehicle and refuted allegations of being intoxicated. His claim that bodyguard Ravindra Patil was driving the Landcruiser is known to be false: Patil can't drive, and one victim told the police that he saw Salman getting down from the driver's seat. Actually, the whole country has seen on television one victim state the same from a hospital bed.

Now that Salman's out on bail, the PR will begin in earnest. And so will the oiling of needy hands. As The Indian Express reported on October 1, "The Mumbai police haven't yet spoken to Ramashray Pandey, but Salman Khan's family has... After the dead and the injured were taken away, Pandey was struggling to get some sleep when he was woken up by two people... They wanted him to tell the Bandra police that 'it was not Salman who was behind the wheel when the accident happened.' He was offered money to spin the story... 'Don't force me to commit a sin. It was Salman who drove the vehicle, no one else. I won't tell a lie,' he says he told the two men. The men insisted that Pandey visit Salman's flat... for some 'baat-cheet.' There, Pandey was introduced to Salman's brother, Sohail. 'I was told that I shouldn't worry about the money. Whatever sum I wanted would be given to me,' Pandey says he was told."

That was Pandey's reaction on the day of the killing. But as the case drags on, need you doubt that we'll once again see that where there's money, there are hostile witnesses.
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Posted: 5 years ago
Where is karma?

Ghor kalyug
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