It has now become a long saga of what happened the night when Salman Khan (allegedly) drank and drove over people sleeping on the footpath. Ravindra Patil, a constable on duty as a bodyguard for Salman when he was receiving threats, was the prime witness in the case. It all happened that night, Patil had warned Salman to not drink too much since he had to drive back home. But the actor drank and (as we all know) the rest is history. Patil fulfilled his duty as he reported the case immediately to the cops.
However, during the court hearing in 2006, Patil did not show up for 5 hearings in a row. His family had filed a missing report – yes, missing. But he was adjudged “absent” and an arrest warrant was filed against him. This information was given by a journalist in his blog post titled Ravindra Patil: The Death of a Messenger, which was later deleted. He had written,
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. 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.
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.
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. Constable Ravindra Patil died on October 4, 2007. “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.
So, this is what REALLY happened to the man who wished to stand by his statement despite the strong forces against him!
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