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( Inserting fresh matter)

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 6 (UNI) A special leave petition (SLP) filed by filmstar Salman Khan, challenging a Jan 19, 2006 Rajasthan High Court order dismissing his criminal revision challenging a Jodhpur court's disallowing him to cross-examine the witness Harish Dulani in a case under Wildlife Protection Act and Arms Act pending against him since 1998 for hunting black bucks, was today dismissed as withdrawn by the Supreme Court.

A bench, comprising Mr Justice Ashok Bhan and Mr Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta, dismissed the petition as not pressed after senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan submitted before the court that he did not want to press his petition as he wanted to approach the High Court.

The counsel for Salman Khan had not turned up till 3 pm on February 23, 2002, to cross-examine Dulani, and thereafter the witness disappeared and is untraceable till date. The statement of the witness was recorded under Section 313 CrPC and he was partly cross-examined by the counsel for co-accused.

Earlier, Justice Bhan told the petitioner that it was his counsel in the trial court, who was not willing to cross-examine the witness and he had disappeared because the accused (Salman Khan) had threatened him.

The counsel for Salman Khan, however, pleaded that Section 33 of the Indian Evidence Act says that no statement of a witness can be read against an accused unless and until he has been given an oppoturnity to cross-examine the witness in his defence.

The court, however, said that the High Court has left the issue open and has mentioned in the order that the statement of the witness recorded by the court does not mean that it shall be read against the accused.

The actor has been convicted and sentenced to undergo one year rigorous imprisonment in one case while two others are pending.

Earlier, Mr Dhawan, appearing for Salman Khan, had pleaded that the statement of the witness (driver) would prejudice the trial pending against his client in other cases.

The court, however, countered: ''What prejudice can be caused to you?'' UNI AKS-SC VJ JN DS1316

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