Bollywood actor Salman Khan was on Wednesday
in a 2002 hit-and-run case. The actor however, escaped being sent to jail after the Bombay high court granted him interim bail till May 8, barely a few hours after the sessions court handed him the five-year term.
Sessions court judge DW Deshpande said the 49-year-old Khan was driving the car at the time of the accident and the defence’s contention that his driver Ashok Singh was at the wheel was not probable.
The judge refused to entertain the prosecution's application seeking action against Salman Khan’s driver for perjury (lying before the court).
Ashok Singh, 42, who has been working with the Khans for the last 22 years, had said that Salman Khan was not involved in the hit-and-run case and that it was he (Ashok Singh) who was driving the car when the accident took place.
The prosecution had questioned Singh’s credibility, argued that he was lying and sought action against him for giving false evidence before the court. The defence, however, called him a man with a clean conscience who came before the court to tell the truth.
Singh was brought as a defence witness by the actor’s lawyers to corroborate his statement recorded by the court. The driver, who appeared 13 years after the incident, claimed that it was he who was driving the car and not the actor.
Singh had told the court that ever since the actor and the third occupant, Kamal Khan, left from Galaxy Apartments the car was first driven by another driver Altaf. Later, he said, Altaf complained about ill-health and he (Ashok Singh) was called in. Singh said that he had been driving the car when the actor left for home from JW Marriot Hotel.
Singh said, “When I took a right turn to Hill Road, the car's left front tyre burst and my vehicle veered towards the left. I tried to control the car, but it was difficult to steer. I even tried to apply the brakes but by that time the vehicle had already climbed the stairs and stopped.”
The prosecution alleged that during the trial the defence had never mentioned that the car was driven by Singh and then suddenly brought him at the end of the trial. While the defence claimed that soon after the incident he had gone to police station to report the case but police did not take his statement and falsely implicated actor. The defence claimed that there was no stage in the trial that Singh could have come to the court to reveal the truth, hence he has deposed at the end of the trial.
The court has, however, refused to believe Singh’s claim and held that the car was driven by the actor.
The prosecution had also sought action against constable Sharad Borade for allegedly deposing with ‘ulterior reason’ and against the RTO officer, RS Keskar, for allegedly giving a deposition that would favour the accused. The court refused to entertain the application for their prosecution as well.