Judge D W Desphande made these important observations as part of the judgment in the 2002 hit-and-run case against Salman Khan, which was delivered at the Sessions Court on Wednesday
Salman could have provided medical help
The accused had knowledge, being a resident of the same locality, that poor labourers used to sleep in front of the bakery. It was also brought on record that the accused is a regular visitor to the Rain Bar. Khan was also having knowledge that one should not drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol.
The accused was also having knowledge that one should not drive a vehicle without licence. Khan, after the accident, did not wait at the spot, and instead of going to the police station for lodging information, he went to his house. Till 10:30 am, the accused did not make himself available at the police station or go to see the injured in the hospital.
A file photo of Salman Khan’s Land Cruiser in police custody after the accident. The judge observed that if the vehicle was not in speed, the question of bursting of the tyre would not arise, as the vehicle could have been stopped on the spot by applying the brakes as the car had ABS (anti-lock braking system)
The accused is a well-known artiste, it was possible for him to provide medical help to the poor people, but he didn’t. For not visiting the police station, (the reason) is that the accused was under the influence of alcohol.
Valet parking attendant saw Salman in the driver’s seat
The valet parking man at J W Marriott, Kalpesh, had given the possession of the car to Khan. There is direct evidence of the same witness who saw Salman sitting at the driver's seat and the accused had given a tip of Rs 500 to him.
According to Special Public Prosecutor (Pradeep) Gharat, a tip is to be given when one leaves from a place. In such a situation, not producing the parking tagand not examining the main person at the valet parking will not be fatal to the case of prosecution.
Tyre didn’t burst; accident was caused by rash and negligent driving
The defence put forth by the accused about bursting of the tyre is also ruled out. The accident occurred due to rash and negligent driving while turning the vehicle without taking proper care and attention, having knowledge that the people were sleeping in front of the laundry.
Defence argued that for a distance of 7-8 km, at a speed of 90-100 km/h, very little time would be required (to reach the spot from J W Marriott), but according to the defence, 30 minutes’ time was required to reach the spot of the incident.
So, according to defence, the vehicle was not speeding. If really the vehicle was not in speed, bursting of the tyre would not arise, and vehicle could have been stopped on the spot by applying the brakes as the car was having ABS (anti-lock braking system).
It means that the vehicle was in speed and while taking right turn on Hill Road from St Andrews Road, the accused lost control and went straight over the people sleeping in front of the laundry; this amounts to rash and negligent driving.
Khan was not even in a position to think, in order to apply the brakes, and the vehicle climbed the stairs after crushing Nurullah and injuring four persons.
Salman must have been a little tipsy
So it goes to establish that the accused must have been a little tipsy because of the drinks he had consumed some time back. It is indeed extremely difficult to assess or judge when liquor would show its effect or would be at its peak.
The prosecution, saying that Khan was under the influence of alcohol, examined the bar waiter and manager (of Rain Bar) who were giving drinks and snacks at the table (where Salman was seated).
Also, the examination of the chemical analyst said his blood contained 0.62 mg of alcohol. While the defence said that he just had water there. One cannot go to a bar just to drink water.
The actor was driving, not driver Ashok Singh
While concluding, I find that it is established beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution that the accused was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Therefore, defence of the accused that Ashok Singh was driving is discarded from consideration. Singh is a got-up witness who has come to help the accused on the instruction of Salim Khan, father of Salman Khan.
(These excerpts from the judgment copy have been edited for clarity. For full judgment reprt click here)