Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said Ashok Kumar’s statements and behaviour were not natural or acceptable. Accusing Salman Khan’s driver Ashok Singh of being a liar, the prosecution, on Monday, ripped apart his evidence during its final arguments. “He is a liar and has come forward only to save the accused for whatever reasons,” Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said.He said he will also argue before the court that Ashok Singh “has made himself liable to perjury by giving false information to the court on oath.””It is the case of the defence that the accident was God’s act. But it is the act of God that the victims were saved and only their limbs came under the tyre. The driving was an act of knowledge, ” he said.”Ashok Singh is liable to be prosecuted for perjury (giving false evidence on oath) as there are circumstances to suggest that he was telling a lie,” argued prosecutor Pradeep Gharat as the actor sat in the front row keenly hearing him.The actor was called today to appear in person as the prosecution had last time made a grievance that Khan was not present in the court during final arguments. Sessions Judge D W Deshpande has again summoned him tomorrow when prosecution would sum up its arguments.Attired in blue denim jeans and an offwhite shirt, 49-year-old Khan came to the court unshaven and occupied a chair next to that of his sister Alvira Khan. He got up twice to offer seat to his secretary who had also come for the hearing held in a jam-packed courtroom.It is the prosecution’s case that Salman had rammed his car into the shop in the wee hours on September 28, 2002, resulting in the death of a person and injuries to four who were sleeping outside. It also alleged that he was drunk and was driving without a licence.Gharat said the conduct of Khan’s driver as a defence witness was unnatural. On one hand, he said a day before his deposition before the court that he decided to tell the truth upon the advice he received from Salman’s father, script- writer Salim Khan.
But Salman’s lawyers had told the court a few days in advance that driver Ashok Singh would depose, Gharat pointed out.The prosecution’s case is Khan had gone with his friends first to the `Rain Bar’ and later to the J W Marriot that night.
The prosecutor referred to evidence given by a hotel staff member that Salman was sitting on the driver’s seat of the car. After he got Rs 500 tip from the actor, he closed the right-hand-side door on the driver’s side and they drove away. “This suggests that Salman was driving,” Gharat said.
Ashok Singh has said when he reached the hotel, he found Salman sitting on driver’s seat. But he got up and went to the left side on the front. Kamal Khan and police bodyguard of the actor, Ravindra Patil, sat behind.The prosecutor wondered how the driver had kept silent for more than 12 years. Salman too faced the trial all these years and never asked Singh to tell the truth, Gharat said. “Throughout a period of 12 years, he wasn’t aware, he wasn’t restless [that Salman had taken up the charge on him]. He was only thinking for a period of 12 years that wrong was going on with Salman. He still didn’t go to any understandable person or lawyer to know what he could do. Is this natural, acceptable conduct?” Mr. Gharat asked.
He questioned how the driver had remained present before the court on the exact date earmarked for defence witness, when he was ignorant about the court proceedings and when nobody had guided him about it. Mr. Gharat also argued that the prosecution witnesses who had deposed before the court were neutral, and that their evidence was crucial in establishing that Salman was driving the car at the time of the accident.