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Hit-n-run: Salman harps on evidence to show he was not driving

Salman Khan at Sessions Court

Mumbai: Alleging that “evidence had been manufactured to falsely implicate him” in the 2002 hit-and-run case, Bollywood actor Salman Khan today told the trial court here that there were circumstances to show that he was not driving the car which rammed into a shop killing one person and injuring four.

His lawyer Srikant Shivade told Judge D W Deshpande that it was Ashok Singh and not Khan who was driving the Toyota Land Cruiser SUV at the relevant time and this has been brought out in the examination of this defence witness.

“Merely because Salman Khan had got down from the driver’s side does not mean that he was driving”…We have explained this in cross-examination (of defence witness) and also in the statement of the accused (Khan),” said his lawyer Srikant Shivade who commenced final arguments today.

There is no evidence on record to show that Salman was driving the car. All that has emerged in the examination of witnesses is that he (Khan) got down from the right hand side of the car. This is because the left door got jammed in the impact of the mishap and did not open, Khan’s lawyer said.

There is no reason why Khan’s statement in the court and Singh’s testimony should not be accepted, he argued while picking holes in the prosecution’s case.

The defence taken by the accused that he was not driving and Ashok Singh was behind the wheel was not an “afterthought” as claimed by the prosecution, his lawyer said.

The only access for a person sitting on the front left side was to get down from the right side as the left door was jammed and did not open…there was no other choice and that is what Salman did, Shivade argued.

Referring to prosecution’s charge that Khan was driving at a speed of 90 to 100 kms per hour, his lawyer said this was not possible. The distance between J W Marriot hotel (where the actor had gone with a friend and brother) and the mishap spot was 7 to 8 kms, while the time taken by his car to cover this distance was between 2.15 am to 2.45 am.

“It is not possible for the driver to cover such a short distance in 30 minutes, more so, at night when the roads are empty. The time taken to cover this distance indicates that the speed could not have been more than 90 kms per hour, the defence lawyer said.

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