To keep this short, lets jump to a Chronological order of events:
1) Ravindra Patil, a young boy from Satara district joined the Mumbai Police as a constable and later trained as a commando to join the Special Operations Squad (SOS) which has a primary duty of guarding VIPs. He was later assigned as Salman Khan’s unarmed body guard after the actor complained to Mumbai Police about threats from the underworld.
2) On the night of the incident, Salman Khan came out of Rain Bar at 2.15 am and they went to JW Marriott, where he was made to wait outside again. Patil then warned Salman to drive slowly when Salman was allegedly driving at a speed of 90-100 km/hr. Salman didn’t pay any heed to Patil.
3) September 28, 2002, Salman's white-colour Toyata Land Cruiser crashes into American Express Bakery at Hill Road at Bandra killing one person and injuring four others.
4) Immediately after the incident, Salman vanished from the spot, while Patil rushed to the Bandra police station, for the first information report (FIR). In his statement, he said that Salman Khan was under the influence of Alcohol and he (Salman) was behind the wheel at the time of the incident.
5) Being a ‘prime witness’ in a high-profile case, Patil was removed from his duties as an SOS commando. People close to him maintained that Patil was under increasing pressure to retract his statement given to the police. Even though it was never revealed who was pressurising him, it was clear that tremendous pressure was being put on Patil – he was physically and mentally crumbling.
6) A low-rung constable in the mighty Mumbai Police, he was tactfully isolated by his own department. He started abstaining from duty and would spend time away from Mumbai. During the trial, the only solid evidence that the police had, was Patil’s eye-witness account. There were a total of 27 witnesses in the case, but Patil was the prime witness who could turn the case around.
7) In 2006, Patil went missing, his family lodged a missing report at the local police station. Rumours started doing rounds that Patil was being pressurised to stay away from the trial. He did not show up for 5 court hearings. Based on that, the court issued a warrant against Patil and ordered the police to arrest him.
8) Crime Branch, found in a hotel in Mahabaleshwar, promptly arrested him and he was sent to jail. The trained commando ended up in a dingy cell of Arthur Road jail with serious criminals. He did not get any witness protection. He was harassed in the jail.
9) After being released from jail, Patil again went missing. No one, including his family, knew where he was. There are reports that he had gone to his mother’s place in Dhule district. In the interim period, he was dismissed from the police department. This meant that his salary was stopped and he was left without any job. He even got divorced.
10) In September 2007, months after he had gone missing, Patil was found in the Sewri TB hospital. Such was his physical condition that at first no one recognised him nor did anyone know that he was the main witness in the Salman Khan hit-and-run case. He was reduced to a pile of bones and weighed a mere 30 kg. He was diagnosed with a deadly type of TB with little hope of survival. According to the hospital staff, Patil had reached the hospital in a pitiable condition and was unable to move or even speak. Patil had reportedly told the doctors that he was begging on the streets of Mumbai and had managed to collect Rs 50 to hire a cab to come to the hospital. He died on October 4, 2007.
Two days before his death, Patil said - "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."
Patil's sordid tale exposes the state of affairs in our country. It's shocking to find that none other than his own department deserted him for no fault of his. He paid the biggest price for speaking the truth and sticking to it. Few possess the courage that Ravindra did and he was punished for it. Salman Khan may or may not be responsible for this end of his but the system definitely is. The system which promises to protect us but ironically could not protect its own. Can we trust such a system? ..It's a rhetorical question.