Salman Khan’s driver today appeared in court for the first time and said he was the one behind the wheels of the SUV that crushed people sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai in 2002.
One person was killed and four people were injured in the accident.
In a sensational new turn in the 13-year-old case, the driver, Ashok, told the court that he lost control of the car due to a tyre burst.
“The police did not listen to me on the first day, and after that I did not know what to do,” he said when the court asked him why he never came forward all these years.
His statement corroborates what the 49-year-old actor told the court on Friday, giving his version of the case for the first time in a court.
Mr Khan denied his bodyguard Ravindra Patil’s statement that despite warnings he drove his Toyota Land Cruiser at a high speed, in a drunk state, in the early hours of September 28, 2002, and lost control.
“My left door was jammed so I could not open it,” Mr Khan said when the court asked him to respond to multiple witnesses saying he exited from the driver’s side.
He admitted to sitting on the driver’s seat only briefly when one driver got out and another, Ashok, took over.
Mr Khan did not deny that he was at a bar with brother Sohail before the accident but said he only drank water and never ordered any cocktails, as indicated by bills. The bills made out for drinks and food, he said, were not his.
The actor also disputed accounts that he ran away after the accident.
“I instructed the driver to inform the police. I remained at the spot for 15 minutes or more,” he told the court.
One of the most bankable stars in the Hindi film industry, Mr Khan is being tried for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in jail. He earlier faced a lesser charge of death by negligence, for which the punishment is a maximum of two years in jail.
SLIDESHOW: Salman Khan – Bollywood’s enfant-terrible