Hit-and-run case: Salman Khan tells court he was not driving the car

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2015 00:52 IST

Refuting all allegations levelled against him, actor Salman Khan told the trial court on Friday that neither was he driving nor was he drunk when his car crashed into a bakery in Bandra, killing one man and injuring four others in 2002.

The prosecution had alleged the actor was drunk and was driving without a licence when the accident took place. “My driver Ashok was at the wheel. The police interrogated him, but did not record his statement,” said Khan, maintaining he was being falsely implicated. Khan told judge DW Deshpande he had started shooting for his movie ‘Garv’ in September 2002, for which he had to look fit and so had stopped consuming alcohol.

?Narrating the sequence of events, Khan said that he had gone for dinner to Rain Bar with his friend Kamal Khan on September 27, 2002. “My driver Altaf dropped us to the bar, with me seated next to the driver, and my bodyguard Ravindra Patil and Kamal at the back,” said Khan.

As it was past midnight, the bar was crowded and they could not get a table to sit, so Khan claimed they stood at the bar counter. The prosecution, the bar manager and waiter had said Khan had ordered snacks and cocktails, but the actor refuted the allegation. “I did not drink. The bills produced by the prosecution do not belong to me. I only drank water at the counter,” said Khan.

They then decided to go to a new bar that had opened at the JW Marriott hotel. When they reached the hotel, Altaf claimed he was feeling unwell and wanted to leave, after which his other driver Ashok was called in, said the actor.

The actor said he gave the car to valet parking and entered the hotel. The prosecution had presented the statement of one Kalpesh, who was allegedly present at the parking counter of the hotel. Kalpesh had, in his statement, said he and his colleague Yogesh were at the counter and the actor was in the driver’s seat when he left the hotel. Kalpesh said Khan had offered him a tip of Rs500 and ask to distribute it. Khan, said he had met someone named Yogesh, and not Kalpesh. He said Kalpesh’s statement was fabricated and he just had water, and not alcohol, at the bar.

Khan said while leaving from the hotel, he initially sat in the driver’s seat, but when his bodyguard told him that Ashok was coming, he moved to the seat next to the driver and waited for Ashok. The accident took place when they were headed towards Bandra.

Khan said he got off the vehicle after the accident from the driver’s side. “The door to my left got jammed, so I had to jump on to the driver’s seat, and get off from that side,” he said.

Responding to the claim that he ran away from the spot or was in an inebriated state when passers-by allegedly assaulted him, he said, “I was at the accident spot for more than 15 minutes. We tried to lift the car to rescue those who had come under the tyre, but it was not possible.”

He said he was then taken home by his childhood friend, and he doesn’t know what happened after that. The next morning, he learned that Ashok was detained. When he went to check on Ashok, the police arrested him and booked him.

The actor said he was then taken to the Bhabha hospital and later to the JJ hospital, and his blood samples were taken at both the hospitals.

The police had said he was taken to the JJ hospital, because there was no facility to take blood samples at Bhabha hospital.

The actor said the doctor did not take his permission before extracting blood, adding the chemical analysis of his blood sample is false. “The chemical analyst, DK Balashankar, is not a qualified technician. I am not aware of the procedure followed by him, but the end result is false,” he said, responding to the question that 62mg alcohol was found in his blood.

The actor said the claim that he did not have a driving licence at the time of the accident is false. He said he did not have permit to drink, as he was not drinking alcohol at that time.

Khan’s statement recording went on till 4pm.

The defence said they will examine their witnesses on Monday, to support the actor’s claims.

Timeline of the case: 13 years on
September 28, 2002
: Actor Salman Khan’s Toyota Land Cruiser crashes into a bakery at Bandra, killing one and injuring four people sleeping on the pavement. Khan gets arrested and is granted bail by the magistrate court

October 2002: The police invoke section 304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)

October 7: Salman Khan surrenders, arrested again

October 21, 2002: The police file a charge sheet, on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder

October 24, 2002: Khan gets bail from the sessions court

March 2003: Khan challenges the application of the section before the sessions court

May 2003: The court rejects Khan’s application and asks the magistrate court to frame charges

June 2003: Khan moves the Bombay high court, which holds that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder is not applicable in the case

October 2003: The state moves the Apex court against the HC order

December 2003: The SC sets aside the orders and holds the magistrate should, after perusal of the evidence, decide whether the harsher section is applicable

October 2006: The magistrate court frames charges against the actor under 304 A of IPC (rash and negligent driving) and other relevant sections

March 2011: The prosecution demands Khan be tried under the harsher section

December 2012: The magistrate court adds the harsher section and commits the trial to the sessions court

March 2013: The actor files a revision application with the sessions court, challenging the order

June 2013: The sessions court rejects the application of the actor, so he can be tried under the harsher section

July 23 2013: The sessions court frames charges against the actor under the new charge

December 2013: The court orders a fresh trial against the actor and with recording of fresh evidence from all witnesses who had also deposed before the magistrate court

April 2014: First witness Samba Gowda deposes in the re-trial

March 25, 2015: Prosecution closes the case against the actor with the examination of 27 witnesses

Charges against the actor:
Indian Penal Code
304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
Punishment: Up to 10 years in jail

279 (rash and negligent driving)
Punishment: 6-month jail term

337 (causing hurt by act endangering life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt)
Punishment: Imprisonment up to 2 years

427 (mischief causing damage to property)
Maximum Punishment: 2-year jail term

Under Motor Vehicle Act
Sections 34 (a), (b) read with 181 (driving vehicle in contravention of rules) and 185 (driving at great speed after consuming alcohol
Punishment: Cancellation of driving license

Bombay Prohibition Act
Driving under influence: Maximum punishment up to six months

The witnesses:
27: People including eyewitnesses, people who got injured in the accident, waiter and manager of the bar, employees of JW Marriott, the doctor who took the actor’s blood sample, doctors who treated the injured, forensic expert, RTO officer and police officers recorded their statements in the cases

Of them, only Sachin Gangaram Kadam, the watchman of a building near the spot of the incident, did not support the prosecution case. According to prosecution he had seen the accident, but during his deposition, he said he had not seen who was at the driving seat

Ravindra Patil, the police constable who was then attached to the security department of the social security branch and deputed as the bodyguard of the actor, died in 2007

A police inspector who was part of the investigation, too, died during the course of the trial

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2002 hit and run case:
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