Trying to establish that actor Salman Khan’s driver Ashok Singh was not driving the car during the 2002 hit-and-run-case, as claimed by Singh, the prosecution said the testimony of several witnesses showed there were only three persons in the car and not four as claimed by the actor’s lawyer.
“From the time he (Salman) left his residence till the time of the accident, he was the only one driving the car,” said chief public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde.
Salman Khan, his friend Kamaal Khan and police bodyguard Ravindra Patil were the only persons in the car, Shinde said. However, in his statement recorded under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Salman had said when he left his residence, Altaf was driving. Altaf, however, was unwell and left. Salman said he was sitting on the driver’s seat waiting for Ashok to arrive. Altaf was one of the actor’s driver in whose place Ashok finally drove, according to defence’s claims.
“Sohail Khan’s bodyguard, who was there outside Rainbar, also said three persons walked in, namely Salman, a friend and Patil,” said Shinde, adding Patil did not refer to Altaf in his FIR.
Patil was the first to inform police about the accident and, based on his statement, an FIR was registered at the Bandra police station.
Justice A R Joshi, who is hearing the actor’s appeal against five years of conviction by the sessions court, said this could have been because the driver was parking the car. “He (Salman) could have omitted referring to the fact that he was sitting on the driver’s seat (outside J W Marriott) but the fact that he mentioned this shows he was being honest,” remarked Joshi.
“If the prosecution case is not up to standard to assist the court every minute detail has to be analysed by court,” Justice Joshi added.
Shinde further said if it was known that Singh was driving the car 13 years ago, there was no need for multiple defences. “Right from one of the injured witnesses who said he saw Salman in the driver’s seat to another witness who knew Salman since childhood and said three persons got out of the car, many witnesses have spoken of only three people and not a fourth person, Ashok Singh,” said Shinde.
He said Singh could have filed an application when he knew the blame was being shifted to his owner.