Court rejects testimony of Salman’s car driver

The Court noted that Salman’s vehicle had been moving at a high speed and dismissed the defence's theory of tyre burst.

May 07, 2015 06:05 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 01:02 am IST - Mumbai:

Bollywood actor Salman Khan leaves the court after getting an interim 2 days bail by the High Court in the 2002 hit-and-run case in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Bollywood actor Salman Khan leaves the court after getting an interim 2 days bail by the High Court in the 2002 hit-and-run case in Mumbai on Wednesday.

In an unequivocal endorsement of the Prosecution’s case against Salman Khan, the Mumbai Sessions Court, in its judgment, has totally discarded the testimony of the actor’s driver and even criticised Salman’s conduct after the 2002 hit-and-run incident.

“The most important and vital aspect of the case is who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Considering the evidence, I conclude that it was accused Salman Khan who was driving the vehicle. Evidence of witnesses corroborate on material particularities. It is established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was driving the vehicle,” Sessions judge D.W. Deshpande court observed in its 240-page judgment. Salman’s driver had taken the blame of the accident on himself by testifying that he was at the wheel. Discarding his evidence from consideration, the court observed, “While concluding I find that it is established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused [Salman Khan] was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident. Ashok Singh is a brought up witness who had come to help the accused on the instruction of Salim Khan, father of the accused. After 13 years, for the first time under Cr.PC [Code of Criminal Procedure], the accused has stated that initially Altaf [another driver] and thereafter Ashok Singh was driving was driving the vehicle.”

‘Improbable claim’

The court found it pertinent as per the injured witnesses “the accused got down from the right side of the car from the driver’s side.” It found that the defence’s claim that Ashok Singh was driving “is not probable, appealable and agreeable to the conscience of a common prudent man.”

Questioning Salman’s act of leaving the scene of incident after his car ran over labourers sleeping on the pavement, the judge remarked that the actor’s conduct went against him.

“The conduct of the accused after the incident by not taking responsible steps to provide medical aid to victims and also failing to give information of the accident to the police is a circumstance against him. According to special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, the accused is a renowned actor and famous in the society. If he had not been guilty, what prevented him from staying back to clam down the people and tell them that action was being taken against the driver if really Ashok was driving. According to Mr. Gharat, if the accused was not driving the vehicle, then why did he leave the place.”

The court noted that 62 mg of alcohol was found in Salman’s blood sample.

Imaginary submission

The court also rejected defence counsel’s theory that deceased victim Nurullah Mehboob Sharif could have died after being crushed under the car when it was being lifted by a crane.

“In my opinion it was an imaginary submission which is without any valid and legal evidence” the court said.

In the same vein, the theory of tyre burst was ruled out. “The accident occurred due to rash and negligent driving,” the court said.

The court also remarked that Salman had the knowledge that “one should not drive without a licence and under intoxication.” “The accused was also having knowledge that labourers were sleeping on the pavement,” the judgment said.

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