Jail is bailed for Salman Khan

Salman Khan at Mumbai airport, India - 05 May 2015


By Vijay Badhwar

There are two sets of laws ”“ one for the rich, and another, unfortunately, for the poor. It is true all over the world that the money can manipulate justice either through the best legal brains in the land, bribes or through political clout. It can even be true in an egalitarian society like in Australia, but it is rampant especially in India as virtually there are no laws that can affect the mighty, even when it involves loss of a precious life.

As it has recently played out in Salman Khan case after a long slumber of 13 years, the justice is blind in the course of lies being told to the court while the guilty feigns good character and turns into a true humanitarian.

For the formality of justice Salman Khan was given five years in jail, but immediately the Bombay High Court suspended his sentence and granted him bail till his appeal was decided. Salman Khan never experienced the privilege of being in the jail, even for a few hours, as he was released on his executing a cash bail bond of a mere Rs. 30,000.

Wasn’t that expected!

Indeed unsurprising, as the public has witnessed the jailed and bailed dramas in many a cases involving the rich and mighty before,   infamously among them, Lalu Yadav’s fodder scam conviction, and more recently, Jayalalitha’s disproportionate assets case.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, a former union minister, was arrested after being found guilty of embezzling government funds while he was the Bihar Chief Minister. He was sent to jail for five years but subsequently was granted bail in the fodder scam case by the Supreme Court.  Other 37 who were found guilty in the scam were granted bail. The prosecuting agency, CBI, did not oppose the bail application.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha was granted bail by the Supreme Court following a conviction by a Karnataka court which had  sentenced her to four years in jail. She successfully sought bail on several grounds including ill health, which, earlier, had been rejected by the Karnataka High Court.

Salman Khan, the macho actor, complained of chest pains after the court did not accept his plea that he was not driving the car involved in the 2002 hit and run case. While the eye witnesses testified that actor was so drunk that he fell on the footpath after he climbed out from the driver’s seat, his lawyers countered that the actor had, in fact, been drinking water all evening and had climbed out of the driver’s seat after the accident because the passenger side door had been damaged.

A security guard, Ravindra Patil, who was travelling in the car with Salman Khan at the time of the accident testified to the police that the drunk actor had lost control of the car. The security guard was sacked and was penniless, even begging at times to survive. He later died in 2007 of tuberculosis.

Does it matter that Ravindra Patil died as a consequence of telling the truth or the death of homeless Nurulah Mahbob Sharif on the footpath, or the perjury committed by driver Ashok Singh who lied to take the blame over from Salman Khan. What really matters is that a fan club is celebrating along with the lawyers who can justifiably raise a toast to, once again, successfully pour scorn on the legal system that is skewed to favour those who can afford to be represented.

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