The prosecution in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Salman Khan refuted in the Bombay High Court the Bollywood actor’s defence that his driver Ashok Singh was driving the car and pointed out that this claim was made only towards the end of the trial.
Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde also told the court that the singer Kamaal Khan, who was riding in Salman’s car at the time, was not examined by the prosecution during the trial because he had become untraceable.
The prosecution would file a reply to the actor’s application that Kamaal Khan be examined in a day or two, Shinde told Justice A R Joshi who is hearing Salman’s appeal against his conviction and five-year sentence.
“Kamaal is a British national. He has appeared before a magistrate who conducted the trial earlier and sought permission to go abroad, which was granted….And he vanished. When the trial was transferred to the sessions court, we could not locate his whereabouts,” said the prosecutor.
Salman’s application says that Kamaal Khan was “the best eye witness” available to the prosecution who can throw the light on who was driving the car and how the mishap occurred.
“Ashok Singh (the actor’s family driver) appeared before the sessions court for the first time at the fag end of trial, 13 years after the mishap, with a view to saving his master Salman,” said Shinde, starting his arguments.
The sessions court in May this year convicted Salman for ramming his car into a Bandra shop, killing one person and injuring four others, on September 28, 2002.
“No person can keep a driver in employment for such a long time, for 13 years, who has brought a bad name to him,” said Shinde.
The defence should have made the claim that there were in fact four people in the car (including Ashok Singh) at the start of the trial and not at the fag end, he added.
According to the police, the car had three occupants: Salman in driver’s seat, his police bodyguard Ravindra Patil who passed away during the trial in 2007, and Kamaal Khan.