Mumbai, Oct. 5: Acting on a petition claiming that Salman Khan needs psychiatric treatment, Bombay High Court today hammered the city police for the “manner in which investigations have been conducted in the case’’.
The Bollywood actor is accused of crushing a pavement dweller under the wheels of a Toyota Land Cruiser last Saturday while returning home drunk from a discotheque.
Justices A.P. Shah and Ranjana Desai have ordered the police to hand in the case papers on Monday. Salman has been asked to be present in court that day.
The PIL, filed by activist-journalists Nikhil Wagle and Nilu Damle and Sudha Kulkarni of the Mahila Dakshata Samiti, has questioned provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act and called for a review. It says damages to victims of such crashes should be judged by the “paying capability” of the accused, not the earning capability of the victims.
The petitioners have also hinted that Salman has lost his mental balance. Listing Salman’s misdeeds and bursts of anger, the PIL says the actor “desperately needs psychiatric or psychoanalytical treatment before another fatal outburst’’.
Arguing for the petitioners, advocate Niteen Pradhan said the court should direct the police to invoke provisions of the Mental Health Act, 1987, and have the actor treated.
Salman has often turned violent on the sets of films and physically assaulted Aishwarya Rai, with whom he is reported to have an off-on relationship, the PIL says. He has paid little heed to police complaints lodged by Aishwarya’s family to keep away from her.
The petition argues that the accident should not be brought under Section 304 A (rash and negligent driving leading to death) but changed to Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) because Salman had taken the wheel despite being drunk.
Singer Kamaal Khan, who was with Salman and his bodyguard at the time of the accident, is reported to have been “uncooperative” during police questioning.
During a three-hour grilling on Friday, he said Salman was not driving the vehicle. Kamaal is believed to have gone to Lonavla and stayed there for two days after the accident. He approached the police only after notices were sent to him.
In Nagpur, deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the police would on Monday review investigations made so far into the case.
Investigations were handed over to joint commissioner of police Javed Ahmad after reports insinuating that junior police officers were being lenient to Salman reached Mantralaya. Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Bhujbal have been taking a personal interest in the case following the huge public outcry.