How was Salman’s medical check-up done in five minutes, asks defence

Mumbai (IANS): Attempting to pick holes in the prosecution case against Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the 2002 road accident, the actor’s counsel on Wednesday said after the accident, the actor’s blood samples were tampered with and his medical examination was done in just five minutes.

Defence counsel Shrikant Shivade argued before Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande that the first primary evidence, the medical case paper, showed that Salman was brought before Dr Shashikant Pawar of Sir J.J. Hospital at 2.25 p.m. and discharged at 2.30 p.m. on September 28, 2002.

“According to the exhibits, his BP was checked which was 138/88, pulse was checked which was 88 per minute, eyes checked for dilation, abdomen was examined which was soft, and as far as smell (of alcohol) was concerned, it was kept blank… This means there was no alcohol, and also he was made to walk straight. Do you think all this is possible in five minutes,” Shivade asked.

He also contended that Salman’s blood samples collected at the government-run Sir J.J. Hospital were tampered with at the behest of police with the intention to nail the accused (Salman), hinting at a police-medico nexus.

Shivade questioned the logic of the Bandra police station of not collecting the blood samples at the neighbourhood civic-run Bhabha Hospital in Bandra and instead sending him to the government-run hospital in Byculla, south Mumbai.

“It is mentioned that blood collection facility was not available at the Bhabha Hospital… is that possible? It is a reputed hospital. It has an operation theatre and an ICU… Do you mean to say that syringes and blood sample collection is not present there?” Shivade argued.

Dwelling upon the cross-examination of medico Pawar who examined Salman and collected the blood sample, Shivade said Maharashtra Medical Code rules were not followed, including taking the consent of the accused and other aspects.

“His consent was not taken… in an invasive procedure… do you want to follow the procedure laid down here, or in Namibia and Ethopia?” he demanded.

Citing another important factor, Shivade said the blood samples were collected on September 28, 2002 afternoon, and sent for examination after two days and actually tested on October 1.

“The evidence is silent on how it was stored, where it was kept and under whose custody? The vials used were stored in his (the doctor’s) chamber… Many patients come and go… there are chances of contamination,” he pointed out.

He added that the blood samples were collected without (Salman’s) consent, gloves were not used, and the samples were sealed by a ward boy, preservative sodium chloride was not used though an anti-coagulant was used.

“When preservative is not used, it leads of fermentation, which would show presence of alcohol even if there is no alcohol in the blood… Absolutely no precautions were taken,” Shivade said.

The defence lawyer’s arguments came in the ongoing re-trial of the September 28, 2002 accident case involving Salman when his Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into a bakery in Bandra west, killing one pavement dweller and injuring four others.

The defence arguments will continue on Thursday.