Salman Khan Tells Mumbai Court in Hit-and-Run Case: I Wasn't Driving, Wasn't Drunk

Actor Salman Khan on his way to a Mumbai court where he recorded his statement today. (PTI photo)

Mumbai:

Actor Salman Khan, giving his version of a 2002 hit-and-run case for the first time in a court today, said he was not driving the SUV that ran over people sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai, his driver Ashok was.

Salman's lawyers, however, claim Ashok's name has been mentioned to the police earlier.

One person was killed and four people were injured in the accident.

The actor, 49, took off his earrings before walking up to the witness box in a Mumbai sessions court.

He denied his bodyguard Ravindra Patil's statement that despite warnings he drove his Toyota Land Cruiser at a high speed, in a drunken 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 court asked: "Munnu (witness) said you were drunk and fell down and then got up and fell again?" He replied, "False."

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.

Salman Khan's sisters were present when he recorded his statement.

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.

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