The court has pronounced the verdict, but there is no closure yet for the family of Nurullah Mahboob Sharif, who was killed in the early hours of September 28, 2002, when actor Salman Khan’s vehicle rammed into the pavement in Bandra.
On Wednesday, when sessions judge D W Deshpande pronounced his verdict, he told the actor: “You were intoxicated and Nurullah was destroyed”.
Sharif’s son, Firoz Shaikh, 25, was still in school when the accident occurred. He had to discontinue his studies, and his mother, Begum Jahan, a housewife till then, had to start working as a domestic help. “I could have completed my studies if my father was alive. I had to work to support my family. I never got a proper job,” says Shaikh, who works as a mason.
He is now married and has two children. “I understand the actor’s parents would be crestfallen today. I can relate to their pain. I forgive him, but he has ruined our lives,” he says, as he admits that he is a Salman Khan fan and has watched almost all his movies.
“In my view, his act was not intentional. It was an accident. My father happened to be the unfortunate victim. I pardon him. I feel the sentencing serves no purpose,” he says.
His mother is not so forgiving. “It took over 12 years for the judgment to come. It would have meant something had it come within a year of the accident,” she says.
“There is ample evidence to show that Salman Khan drove the vehicle. Despite that, he lied to the court and got his driver to take the blame. We are poor, but that does not mean that our lives are worthless. By convicting and sentencing him, the court has set an example,” she adds.
Recalling the incident, she says Sharif’s friend, Farooq, came home in the morning and told her that her husband was dead. “I was ill that day… I borrowed some money from my neighbour and reached the spot. I was asked to go to the police chowki,” she says.
She says Farooq told her that Salman Khan had killed her husband, but till she walked into the Bandra police station, she did not know that it was the actor. “The police informed me that my husband was run over by Salman Khan,” she recalls. “I hail from a small town near Chennai and had never heard of Salman Khan. It was then that I realised that the person who killed my husband was an influential person, a big film star,” she adds.
“A week after the incident, I walked into his building, Galaxy Apartments in Bandra, but I was chased out by his security staff,” she says. “Log bolte hain ki bada dilwala hai, par hamari khabar nahi li (People say he has a big heart, but he never inquired about us ),” she adds.
Begum Jahan says the government promised a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, but she is yet to get it. “I had to pull my son out of school as I could not afford his education. His life was ruined,” she says, adding that she remarried in 2004, two years after the accident.