Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was drunk and driving his SUV when it ran over persons sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai in 2002, Maharashtra government today told the Supreme Court while seeking reversal of the Bombay High Court verdict acquitting him.
Terming the High Court verdict as “perverse”, “improper” and “complete travesty of justice”, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state, said that Khan was driving the vehicle and “introduction” of his driver as the person, who was behind the wheels, was an “afterthought” that came to light after 13 years of the incident.
The bench comprising Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan, however, today did not issue notice to the superstar and fixed Maharashtra’s plea for further hearing on February 12 as it wanted to satisfy itself on the aspect as to who was driving the vehicle on the fateful night.
Referring to sequence of events and testimonies of some of the witnesses, Rohatgi said that besides Khan, his singer friend Kamaal Khan and a constable was inside the vehicle and there are statements which amply suggest that the actor was driving.
The alcohol level was beyond permissible limit in Khan’s blood sample which was collected even after 12 hours, he said, adding that it was an admitted fact that the actor lacked driving license in 2002.
The Attorney General referred to verdicts including the BMW hit-and-run case involving Delhi businessman Sanjeev Nanda and sought issuance of notice to Khan.
He debunked the theory that instead of Salman, his driver Ashok Brahmadev Singh was driving the Toyota Land cruiser on the night of September 28, 2002 when it crashed into a Bandra pavement, killing one and injuring four others.
“From 2002 to 2015, this Singh did not surface. He suddenly appears after 13 years and says that he was driving,” he said adding that it is “strange” and “how can the cine star keep quiet for such a long period just to save his driver”.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Salman, said the Attorney General has told “a very good story on the accident” and he has also a lot to say to counter this.