2002 hit-n-run case: Salman Khan denies driving car; having drinks

Deposing before the Sessions court yesterday, the actor testified that he was not at the wheel of the Toyota Land Cruiser that killed one and injured four others on Hill Road; actor was grilled for three hours by the judge

Bollywood actor Salman Khan told a Sessions court yesterday that the police had arrested him in a false case. He said that on September 28, 2002, he was not driving the SUV that rammed into the American Express bakery, killing one and injuring four others.

Photo: Datta Kumbhar

Judge D W Deshpande grilled Khan for three hours, during which the actor answered 419 questions. After the questioning concluded, the judge asked him if he had anything to say, to which his lawyer, Shrikant Shivade, submitted a written statement.

In it, Khan said that on September 27, he was first at Rain Bar in Bandra and then went to Enigma at J W Marriott. Khan also testified that he was not drunk on that day and that at both the places, he only had water.
While leaving Enigma, Khan said he sat in the driver’s seat while waiting for his driver.

Thereafter, Khan, Ravindra Patil, his police bodyguard, Ashok Singh, his driver, and singer Kamaal Khan left for home. The actor deposed that Singh was at the wheel, he at the seat next to Singh, Kamaal on the rear left seat and Patil behind the driver.

In the witness box
The judge questioned the actor based on testimonies of other witnesses.

Testimony: Ravindra Patil
Judge: Reply true, false or I don’t know to the allegations. Were you driving?
Salman: False.
Judge: Were you drinking?
Salman: False
Judge: Ravindra Patil said the driver drove during day and you at night.
Salman: False
Judge: After the incident, did you run away from the spot?
Salman: False. I was there for a long time.
Judge: Was Ravindra Patil an eyewitness?
Salman: False. He was sleeping in the car.

Testimony: Rizwan, manager at Rain Bar
Judge: Were drinks and snacks provided at service counter?
Salman: True
Judge: The drinks included cocktails?
Salman: True
Judge: Were you holding a white glass in your hand?
Salman: I was drinking water

Excerpts from Salman’s statement
Here is an excerpt of the sequence of events, as per Khan’s statement. “Ashok drove homewards at 40-50 kmph. When we reached Hill Road, suddenly the front tyre burst and jerked the car towards the left.

I tried to control the car but it veered towards American Express and hit the shutter. I tried to get out but found the door next to me jammed. We could hear voices under the car. Ashok got down; a lot of people had gathered.

I got out from the driver’s seat. I wanted to move the car but there were people underneath it. We tried lifting the vehicle but it was dangerous to do so. So, I told Ashok to call the police for help and inform Bandra police station about the accident.

Meanwhile, the crowd had started attacking us and throwing stones. They had beaten up Ravindra Patil and Ashok. Francis Fernandes (his neighbour) and his wife came to the spot and asked me to leave. They said they would take the injured to Holy Family Hospital.

I later learnt that one person had died and four had been injured. Ashok had been detained at Bandra police station. I went to the police station on September 28 and saw a violent mob gathered outside. Ashok said the police had not recorded his statement.

I met a police officer, who said he was under tremendous pressure to make arrests. I tried to explain I was not driving the car, but they did not listen and arrested me in a false case. I was taken to Bhabha Hospital and JJ Hospital.

At both hospitals, the doctors took blood samples and gave them to the police. Bala Shankar (chemical analyst) knows nothing about chemical analysis and gave blood alcohol reports without conducting tests.

Kalpesh Verma (valet at J W Marriott) was never present there. He was planted by the police, as the real valet, Yogesh Kadam, refused to give a false statement as desired by the police. Rajendra Keskar (RTO officer) never inspected the car and gave a report to suit the prosecution’s case.

The police have prepared false statements of the witnesses, who are deposing under cops’ influence and also out of prejudice and suspicion. Police pressurised Ravindra Patil to give a false statement and implicate me.”

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