Hit-and-run case: Salman Khan's final judgment to come on April 20

On 20th April, Judge D W Deshpande would be announcing the judgment date for Salman Khan’s 2002 hit-and-run case. Trial court on Saturday declared that the date of judgment would be announced on 20th April. The judge said, “I would decide on Monday the date of the judgment. Conclude your argument by April 20 and no further time would be given either to the defence or prosecution to make more submissions.” Salman Khan’s lawyer Shivade has examined just one witness before the court- driver Ashok Singh. Whereas, the prosecution has examined 27 witnesses for this case.

March 27th saw Salman making a new statement at the court. “My driver, Ashok Singh, was driving the car when the mishap occurred,” the actor had said. It was on 30th March that driver Ashok Singh made an appearance for the very first time before the court. His statements have proven to be a turning point in this infamous case.  Ashok said that he, and not Salman was the one behind the wheel on the night that Salman’s can ran into footpath dwellers. He said, “On that day, I had left from JW Marriot along with Khan, his security, Ravindra Patil and Kamaal Khan. I was the one who was driving the car and Salman was sitting on the seat next to the driver's seat. Suddenly, the front left tyre of the land cruiser car burst, which then jammed the steering wheel. I tried to apply the breaks, but it was too late.”

On April 16th, Shivade backed the statements of Ashok Singh. The lawyer said, “Ashok Singh has stated that the car’s tyre burst and drifted to the left while they were coming straight on Hill Road.” He further said that after the accident, the RTO officer Keskar had examined the vehicle. Shivade then cited what Keskar had concluded after he examined the car. He said that Keskar “changes stand and says that there was less air.”

The prosecution has alleged that if Salman wasn’t the one driving the car, then why didn’t he take the injured straight to the hospital? Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat had argued, “Why would people shout ‘Salman, come out,’ if the accused was not driving the car? The accused is a renowned actor, respected by people. Had he not been guilty, what prevented him from staying back to calm down the people, and to tell them that right action was being taken against the driver? Why didn’t he take the suffering victims to hospital?”