Main eyewitness in the Chinkara case, in which actor Salman Khan was on Monday acquitted by a Rajasthan Court, has said told NDTV that his family was threatened and that is why he never testified in court. He said he has been living in fear since his first testimony before the magistrate.
Harish Dulani, the driver of the jeep which was used by Salman and his friends for poaching chinkara, was the sole eyewitness in the case. But he went missing in 2002, weakening the prosecution’s case.
However, Dulani maintained that he stands by what he had said before the magistrate in 1998 after the incident. “I stick to the statement I made before the magistrate 18 years ago,” said Dulani.
Maintaining that he was threatened every time he tried to appear before court, Dulani said: “I am not an absconder. My father received threats, I got scared and moved out of a town near Jodhpur. If I had police protection, I could have given a statement. That was what I always intended.”
After his initial statement against the actor, Dulani was sacked by the car company that hired him to drive the Gypsy used by Salman.
Dulani said he drove Salman for a week in 1998 from September 26 to October 1 during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain. In his first statement soon after the incident, Dulani had said that “Salman Khan was not only driving the gypsy, he was also shooting the deer. He even got off to slit the neck of the deer and then drove the car again.”
The court had, however, on Monday overturned earlier verdicts that sentenced Salman to jail for five years and said there was no evidence to prove that he killed the deer with his licensed gun.
The court also agreed with Khan’s lawyer who had argued that Dulani was unreliable and never available to them for cross-examination.