Mumbai: Contesting Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s defence that his driver was driving the Toyota Land Cruiser at the time of the 2002 hit-and-run mishap,prosecution today asserted before the trial court that the superstar was very much behind the wheel. Driver Ashok Singh was a stooge and dummy witness and had lied on oath that he was behind the wheel, the prosecution said.
“Witness have testified in the court that they had seen Salman Khan getting down from the driver’s seat and no one had witnessed actor’s family driver Ashok Singh behind the wheel,” said special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat in written final arguments before Judge D W Deshpande. The case of the prosecution is that three persons were in the car — Salman Khan, his police bodyguard Ravindra Patil and singer friend Kamal Khan — which rammed into a bakery shop in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four others who were sleeping outside.
However, Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade had argued earlier that there were four persons in the SUV. In this regard he referred to the testimony of three witnesses — an injured victim, Manager of Rain Bar, where the actor had gone with his friend before the incident and a dairy owner, whose shop was adjacent to the bakery, where victims in deep slumber were run over by the car.
“Why the defence has not put this question to witnesses during cross-examination asking whether Ashok Singh was the fourth person in the car besides the actor, bodyguard and Khan’s friend Kamal?,” asked prosecutor Ghara. The defence had the opportunity to cross examine the witnesses on this point, but they chose to keep quiet and only after the actor disclosed in his statement under 313 of Cr.Pc that Ashok Singh was driving the car, he (Singh) was examined as a defence witness.
“Singh is a liar and I pray that action may be taken against him for perjury (giving false evidence). He is a stooge and dummy witness,” said Gharat in his written arguments running into 30 pages. The prosecutor further said the actor was under the influence of liquor and his blood test has revealed that the alcohol content was 62 mg per 100 ml sample.
49-year-old Khan is facing the charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ which attracts jail term up to ten years. He was earlier charged with rash and negligent driving which prescribes punishment up to two years. Khan’s lawyer would continue arguments on April 15.