12:21 am - Tuesday March 26, 2019

Salman’s Case ;The Other Side : The Story of Constable Ravinder Patil : The Price of Telling Truth

Salman’s Case ;The Other Side : The Story of Constable Ravinder Patil : The Price Of Telling Truth : blog of Soumaditya Bannejee being circulated in e mails circuit

“An offer I couldn’t refuse”

I have always been a big fan of Salman Khan and will always be. But, no one  can be bigger in the court of law. There is always two sides of a  coin. One we already know about the humanitarian work done by Salman Khan. The  other side is explained in the below link. There were two deaths in the  whole case. One because of which everything started and other which got  unnoticed and a silent but painful one. His name was Ravindra Patil, who was a  constable and was with Salman Khan in the car while the accident took place. He  died due to depression in 2007.




Everybody knows that one person was killed and four others were injured when  an inebriated Salman Khan rammed his Landcruiser onto the steps of A1 Bakery at  the turning near Mehboob Studios in Bandra in the wee hours of September 28,  2002.

But perhaps we don’t remember that the incident claimed one more life later.  In the course of the case another strapping young man died a slow but painful  death on the cold floors of a government hospital at Sewri in Mumbai. He had  nobody from his family around during his final hours.

Such was the misfortune of this man that nobody from his family even came  forward to claim the body immediately after his death. They were not even aware  that he had died.

The handsome young man was reduced to a bag of bones at the time of his  death. Not too many people came near him because the man was suffering from  acute tuberculosis and would spit blood often.

He never had visitors in the last three weeks of his life, barring a  newspaper reporter who found out who he was.

This man, who was not even spared the pain in his death, was the prime  witness of the 2002 drunk driving case involving Salman Khan. He saw it all  happen in front of his eyes.

Today I will tell you the story of constable Ravindra Patil, the unlikely  hero who will perhaps never be rewarded for what he has done. But if any justice  is served to the forty-something Nurullah Mehboob Sharif, who was crushed under  the wheels of Salman’s Landcruiser, it will be because of this Mumbai police  constable’s statement as prime witness in the case.

Sadly, Patil was under immense pressure while acting as a prime witness and  his health started deteriorating rapidly. To compound his woes, Patil took to  drinking and his health continued failing.

We will now tell you what was Patil doing in Salman’s Landcruiser that  fateful night.

Why was Ravindra Patil with Salman that night?

Around January or February in 2002, Salman Khan had filed a report with the  Mumbai Police about receiving two threatening calls from the underworld. After  talking to the Bollywood star, the Mumbai Police came to the conclusion that  there is a genuine threat to Salman Khan’s life.

It may be mentioned here that the Mumbai Police is also willingly or  unwillingly a part of the appear-and-appease brigade of Bollywood ever since  they decided to add a dash of glamour to their annual function where all the  A-list actors come and dance for free. Bollywood stars usually rub shoulders  with the top brass of the force.

I am not trying to say here that Bollywood stars are given preferential  treatment all the time but it is common knowledge in Mumbai that any complaint  or “apprehension” from any Bollywood A-lister is viewed with utmost seriousness  among the Mumbai Police top brass. The police force is always there at the beck  and call of Bollywood stars which is really a good thing, I must say.

Okay, moving on to the story again.

The Mumbai police, as expected, responded to the complaint immediately and  assigned a 24-year-old constable, Ravindra Patil as an unarmed bodyguard for the  actor.

Patil was chosen for the job because he was a handsome young man, who was fit  enough to shadow Salman Khan at public events.

Patil’s friends have told the media that he used to take several of his  friends to meet Salman Khan when he was on duty. In short, Patil enjoyed his job  of shadowing one of the most sought-after Bollywood stars.

Salman and Patil seemed to have a good equation and the few odd months that  Patil was there with him, everything seemed hunky dory.

Patil was a constable of 1998 batch and was attached to the Protection Unit  of Mumbai Police. He had two elder brothers who were police constables too —  Devendra Patil and Prakash Patil — all between the age of 32-35 years at that  time.

On that fateful night of September 28, Salman Khan was drinking at JW Mariott  hotel in Juhu, while Patil was sitting in the actor’s SUV outside the hotel.

It was also reported in some media that Salman had a driver with him that  night but he was advised to go home because it was getting too late. Post  midnight, when Salman emerged from JW Mariott, there were two other people along  with the actor that night – Constable Patil and singer Kamal Khan.

What happened after Salman rammed the SUV

Salman denied all the charges after he was taken into custody the next day.  It was reported that Patil told the police that Salman was so stunned to see  people wailing and crying under the wheels of his car that he chose to flee the  spot rather than take the victims to the hospital.

The victims were carried to the hospital by the neighbours and Salman was  arrested eight hours later. After his arrest, his blood sample was collected for  testing. The sample revealed 65 milligrams of alcohol eight hours later which  clearly indicated that he was drunk at the time of the incident.

So, it was clear from the very beginning that the case hinged on the  statements of Patil, who was the sole eye-witness of the incident.

The entire case hinged on three crucial points mentioned by Patil in his  signed statements to the police after the incident : (a) Salman was drunk, (b)  Salman was driving the SUV at more than 100 kilometres per hour and (c) Patil  had warned Salman to slow down but he chose to ignore the advice.

Salman denied Patil’s claims later

After Salman Khan was presented in court, he denied that he was driving the  vehicle or that he was under the influence of alcohol.

The trial court initially framed charges of culpable homicide against the  actor primarily based on the testimony of Patil, but the case soon started to  develop twists and turns and some witnesses allegedly changed their  statements.

The case was taking a turn but Ravindra Patil hadn’t changed his statement  ever — he maintained during his deposition that Salman was at the wheels of the  car and that he was drunk.

But however, in the days that followed, the court found that the charge of  culpable homicide was untenable against Salman and it imposed a much lighter  charge of Rash and Negligent Driving against the star which carried a maximum  sentence of two years as opposed to a homicide charge under which you can be  jailed for 10 years.

In the next post we will tell you the sad episode of Ravindra Patil and why  he was treated like a criminal and sent to jail despite being the prime witness  of the case.



Ravindra Patil: The death of a messenger

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.

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.

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.

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.



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