Ashok Singh, the family driver of Bollywood star Salman Khan, told the sessions court that it was he and not the actor who was driving at the time of the 2002 hit-and-run accident in which one person was killed and four others were injured.
Khan, charged by the police with ramming his Landcruiser into a bakery in Bandra in a drunk state on September 28, 2002, had told the court last week that Singh was driving the car. It was the first time he made this disclosure.
Ashok Singh (42), who appeared as a defence witness, corroborated Khan’s version completely.
Describing how the accident took place, Singh said: “A tyre burst and the car was dragged to the left….I tried to turn the steering wheel but it was hard, then I tried to apply brakes but by then the car had climbed the stairs of bakery.”
“I was in a state of shock and Salman was sitting on the left side. He tried to open the door but it got jammed. He got down from my side which was on the right,” said Singh, replying to questions asked by Salman’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade.
Altaf, another driver who worked for Khan, had called him on phone at 1.30 am that day, asking him to pick up the actor at the J W Marriot hotel because he (Salman) was not well.
Singh said he reached the hotel in auto-rickshaw, and saw the actor sitting on the driver’s side with engine running and air-conditioning on. As Altaf had left, Singh got into the driver’s seat; Salman sat on his left and his friend Kamal Khan and constable Ravindra Patil, the actor’s police bodyguard, sat behind, he said.