Salman's friend did not talk of Singh, says prosecution

Salman's friend did not talk of Singh, says prosecution

Salman's friend did not talk of Singh, says prosecution

Reiterating that Salman Khan was driving the Toyota Land Cruiser Lexus, the prosecution on Wednesday said that the actor’s friend Francis Fernandes, who was at the spot of accident, had not seen Ashok Singh, who during the fag-end of the trial, had admitted that he was at the wheels of the SUV.

“As Fernandes was Salman’s friend of many years, he must have known Ashok Singh by face but not a word had been said about him (Singh) in the evidence that he had given,” public prosecutor and Government Pleader Sandeep Shinde told Justice A R Joshi of the Bombay High Court, who is hearing the appeal of the actor against the conviction and five-year jail term awarded by the Mumbai Sessions Court, in a 14-year-old drunken driving and hit-and-run case.

In fact, on September 28, 2002, the day of the accident, the mob gathered around saw Salman saying: “Commander, save me”. Later, Fernandes helped him take a cab and move away from the scene.

“Both of them knew each other for several years, but Fernandes in his evidence has not spoken about Ashok Singh,” said Shinde.

The judge, however, observed that this witness had not mentioned the late police constable Ravindra Patil, the police bodyguard of Salman Khan, who was accompanying the actor in his car on the ill-fated day. Patil had stated in his statement before a magistrate that Salman was driving the car under the influence of liquor and he had warned him to drive slowly or else he would meet with an accident. 

The defence has contended that Patil, who is the first informant and lodged the FIR, had not spoken about alcohol and it was added in his supplementary statement that he gave five days after the accident.

Stressing yet again that Khan was at the wheels, Shinde said: “Two witnesses had seen Salman Khan occupying the driver’s seat of his car...this implies that he was driving the car.”