Mumbai

Prosecution rips apart confession of Salman’s driver

The court rejected the actor's plea seeking exemption from appearance on Tuesday. File photo.

The court rejected the actor's plea seeking exemption from appearance on Tuesday. File photo.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Accusing Salman Khan's driver Ashok Singh of being a liar, the prosecution, on Monday, ripped apart his evidence during its final arguments. "He is a liar and has come forward only to save the accused for whatever reasons," Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said.

He said he will also argue before the court that Ashok Singh "has made himself liable to perjury by giving false information to the court on oath."

"It is the case of the defence that the accident was God's act. But it is the act of God that the victims were saved and only their limbs came under the tyre. The driving was an act of knowledge, " he said.

Meanwhile, the court rejected the actor's plea seeking exemption from appearance on Tuesday, after the prosecution opposed it. Salman will have to remain present in court on Tuesday when the prosecution is likely to conclude its arguments.

Mr. Gharat said Ashok Kumar's statements and behaviour were not natural or acceptable. He said the driver had chosen to refrain from answering the most crucial questions during his cross-examination.

"Throughout a period of 12 years, he wasn't aware, he wasn't restless [that Salman had taken up the charge on him]. He was only thinking for a period of 12 years that wrong was going on with Salman. He still didn't go to any understandable person or lawyer to know what he could do. Is this natural, acceptable conduct?" Mr. Gharat asked.

He questioned how the driver had remained present before the court on the exact date earmarked for defence witness, when he was ignorant about the court proceedings and when nobody had guided him about it.

"He said nobody told him when he should remain present before the court. If he was ignorant about the procedure of the court, then the million dollar question is — how did he remain present before the court on that particular date itself?" Mr Gharat asked.

He also questioned how the actor and his family kept Ashok Singh in service and extended co-operation to him for 12 years, even as Salman continued appearing in the matter as an accused.

"The accused [Salman] is facing trial for 12 years. He has gone through the ordeal of arrest for the first time, then arrest for the second time and remaining in custody for a few days. The actor, whose time is very valuable, is also attending the case throughout after the charge sheet was filed. The very driver who works with him and has continued to work with him, sits with his mouth shut and hands tired?" the Special Public Prosecutor asked.

'Car didn't skid, tyre didn't burst'

The prosecution questioned the trustworthiness of Ashok Singh's statement that the accident was caused after the car skid due to tyre burst. Mr. Gharat pointed that the car in question was an SUV which was an automatic vehicle with all facilities.

"The defence of car skidding is an eyewash by the defence witness. This SUV has radial tyres whose width is more than other tyres. They can run on muddy, marshy, uneven surfaces and stones. The possibility of the tyre skidding is very remote. Also, the tyre wouldn't get punctured for petty reasons. Even if the wheels puncture in running condition, the tyres will not burst, "he said, elaborating on the hi-tech facilities in the vehicle Toyota Land Cruiser.

Nobody under the car?

Ashok Singh had told the court during his deposition that after the accident, no one was found under the car. "This shows that he is a self-condemned liar. All the witnesses have said, the limbs of the victims were entangled in the tyre. Ashok had also said, he and Salman tried to lift the vehicle. If he saw nobody below the tyre, why did he try to lift the vehicle?" Mr. Gharat asked.

He also asked if the driver could have been so casual if he would have been involved in the accident.

After reading complainant Constable Ravindra Patil's statement, he said that Salman's conduct previous and subsequent to the accident, was relevant as per the statement. He questioned the defence for posing queries about Salman's driving, if its contention was that Salman was never driving the car in question.

Mr. Gharat also argued that the prosecution witnesses who had deposed before the court were neutral, and that their evidence was crucial in establishing that Salman was driving the car at the time of the accident.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 9:42:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/salmans-driver-a-liar-says-prosecution/article7074080.ece

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