By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
The Maharashtra High Court verdict that made Salman Khan a free man again only bolsters the belief of rich and powerful that their collars are beyond the reach of arms of justice. Yes, the cases are fought and won on evidence. Yes, public perception does and should not affect the workings of the prosecution, defense or judiciary. But why were the judges blind to the blatant fact that was and is obvious to everyone? The accused in question had both money and clout to influence the outcome of the case.
Dead are gone, those who were injured will carry on with or without healing but the humiliation in face of this verdict that family and loved ones of those at the receiving end of the brunt of Salman’s car that fateful night will never go away. It seems as if prosecution was more than happy to puncture their case, no body can explain discrepancy in Salman’s statement. Some witnesses were dropped, some conveniently died and some conveniently appeared. Was this not enough for the state court to convict the accused or order a probe into mishandling of the investigation? Is it not the court’s responsibility to ask who drove the car or who should go to jail. In our country, it’s a naked truth that those with money and muscle can intimidate eyewitnesses, pay off cops, higher top notch lawyers who would prove the Sun as Moon if it comes to saving his clients neck but its also true that Indians put huge faith in the judges that they will level the playing field for those who cannot afford the liberty of an advocate, these people have no hope other than the judge’s pen which has the power to right the wrong. I read a quote somewhere, absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. Sometimes this absence of evidence is enough to prove the guilt.
There was also the argument for symbolic justice here had this film star paid for his deed. Its not that he is the first high profile person to come under the scrutiny, Subrato Roy is practically running Sahara group from Tihar, Sanjay Dutt is often more out than in the prison and he doesn’t seem slightly affected by his ordeal. Ramlinga Raju of Satyam is reported to have enjoyed five star facilities in jail and politicians of UP and Bihar are known for using jail as a stronghold with no holds barred. Salman wouldn’t have been exception, money can buy you every comfort off course but he would have been in jail and that fact would have brought a little victory to the aggrieved families for all their losses. Its not so much about getting a guy behind the bar, it’s about getting the guy behind the bar.
We have a saying in Chambal, The people who don’t get justice from the law, takes law into their own hands. Lets hope we don’t have to see those days.