In the twists and turns of Salman Khan’s hit and run case one more justification came into account, making an effort to save the Bollywood superstar. Describing the evidence adduced against him in the hit and run case as false Salman Khan on Friday told the trial court that he was not driving the car which met with an accident in 2002 killing one person and injuring four.
Thirteen years later, just as it started to look like the law finally had Khan in its grip, came the shocking cinematic twist: the star’s driver, Ashok Singh, came forward and declared himself ‘guilty’. Though it isn’t exactly clear why Singh chose this belated moment to indict himself. Perhaps Khan was just being human (pun intended) and protecting his driver. However, the timing of this fortuitous confession is a bit suspicious.
The unhappy prosecution has labeled Khan’s driver a liar and questioned the authenticity of his claims. In its closing argument, the lawyers made a compelling case against Khan, raising 5 key questions.
- Why did Ashok Singh keep quiet all this while when his employer was busy fighting a long and exhausting criminal case, one that could threaten his image and livelihood.
- Why didn’t the Khans sack the criminally negligent driver? Not only did the Khans take on the burden of his driver’s sins, but kept him gainfully employed, to boot.
- How was Salman’s car parked under the hotel porch then? Gujarat pointed to small but key piece of evidence that contradicts the driver’s account. As all sides agree, Khan was on his way back from JW Marriot on that fateful night. At the hotel, his car, according to police records, was parked under the porch of the five star property. According to the hotel’s rules, no chauffer driven car is allowed parking in that space and only a patron can drive in himself and park the car there.
- Why should an SUV skid on a normal Mumbai road? Khan’s driver also claimed that he hadn’t run over the footpath dwellers deliberately, but that a tyre burst had caused the car to skid and mount the footpath. There is certainly no evidence of a burst tyre from the reports of the RTO officer deposed by the prosecution – the only thing in Khan’s favor is the fact that, as his garbled testimony shows, the officer wasn’t sure.
- Why are there two different defense accounts of the chain of events? Salman Khan’s lawyers first claimed that he had tried to lift the car after it ran over the people sleeping on the footpath. This information was furnished by the defense as proof that Khan was not drunk. However, Singh, in his confession claimed that no one was found under the wheels when the car rolled on to the footpath- which is a bizarre claim in itself.
The most stimulating and scandalous aspect of this 13-year-long drama is this: Even as the defense was denying the allegation that Salman Khan was driving the car, it had not troubled to offer an alternative name. If Salman was not driving the car and in it, surely, the natural next question would be, who was driving the car then? It had taken them more than decade to answer the question, but it remains to be seen whether the judges will believe it. The prosecution certainly does not.