In a major setback to Bollywood actor Salman Khan, three witnesses in the 2002 hit-and-run case identified him in a sessions court saying they had seen him getting down from the car which had met with an accident in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.
The witnesses were among the injured who were run over by the car when they were sleeping on a footpath near American Express Bakery on that day. The court is conducting the re-trial of this case after the charges of culpable homicide were added recently.
While one witness said he saw the actor getting down from the front door on the right hand side, the other said he had seen Salman Khan getting down from the driver’s seat. Another witness said the actor had got down from the vehicle but did not remember from which side he got down.
One person was killed and four people were injured in the incident after which police booked Salman Khan in this case on the charge of rash and negligent driving and other charges. Recently he was charged with an additional charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder which attracts a 10-year sentence.
The three witnesses who deposed on Tuesday (May 6) were Manu Khan, Mohammed Kalim Iqbal Pathan and Muslim Shaikh. All of them were workers of the bakery which was hit by the car.
The prosecution has alleged the Toyota Land Cruiser involved in the incident was driven by Salman who was under the influence of liquor. So far, four witnesses have deposed in the re-trial. One among them is a panch witness and the other three are eye witnesses. The prosecution led by Jagannath Kenjralkar would examine another three witnesses on May 19.
All the witnesses told Judge D W Deshpande that they saw the actor getting down from the car. He was held by the people who were shouting “nichey utro” (get down). Salman Khan was held by the people but another person, who also got down from the vehicle, said he was a policeman and hence they released the actor who ran away from the spot, they said.
During cross-examination, Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade alleged that the witnesses were tutored by police to say they had seen Salman getting down from the car.
However, the witnesses dismissed Shivade’s argument.They also described as “false” the allegations levelled by the defence lawyer that they had implicated Salman only because police told them they would get a huge compensation if they named him.
One of the witnesses Muslim Shaikh was confronted with his earlier statement of 2006 made before a magistrate wherein he had not stated a word about Salman getting down from the car.
To this, Shaikh replied he had told the magistrate about Salman coming out of the car, but could not say why that part was not recorded in his continued…