Chit Chat

Salman was asked to give 20 lakhs for the bail: Salim Khan

We have asked Salim Khan several times in the past to comment on issues pertaining to his superstar son Salman Khan but he has refrained from doing so. This time again, like always, we asked him to talk about Salman’s hit-and-run case and much to our surprise, Salim sahab agreed to talk to us and invited us over to his new place at Pacific Heights on Carter Road. I started by asking him the most obvious question.

Salim sahab, all these years you did not speak up: be it about Salman’s famous linkups and breakups or his black buck case or even the more recent hug between our two superstars Shah Rukh and Salman. What made you change your mind to speak to us now?
It’s natural for every father to take the side of his son. We are in a position to hire the best lawyers in the country and I have full faith in our judicial system. Whether he is guilty or not will be decided by the court of law, but I felt that now the time has come when I am required to speak on it as so many things are being hammered all the time by the media, that over time it will be construed as truth. While the case is subjudice, as a sensible person there are some things I can say for sure.

How is this a hit-and-run case?
Hit-and-run has the implication of being callous and a coward. You become an insensitive person and a coward if you want to run away in such a situation. The car skidded and hit the footpath at 2.30 in the night and thereby, people who were sleeping on it. It is unfortunate that apparently, it was the first day they were sleeping on the footpath as it was the month of September when the monsoons had just got over. The accident happened 100 meters away from the house and the car was stuck there and was removed only in the morning. Coincidentally, Salman had a police constable (Ravinder Patil) with him at that time given to him for his protection. There was a crowd and there were stones being thrown at the car at which point, the police constable whose job it was to protect Salman, took him away from there and brought him home where his statements were recorded and then he was taken for the alcohol test. So where is the question of running away? Hit-and-run means when your car has hit someone and you choose to run away. Whether he was driving that night or not is still a question mark and I will not comment on that as the case is subjudice. But everybody who had come there at the time of the accident knew Salman and the boy who died was taken to the hospital.

It has been repeatedly said that the car was being driven at 90 miles per hour.
Even Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari cannot touch 90 miles per hour in front of the small stretch of Holy Family. Had the car hit the shop at 90 miles per hour, the whole shop would have disappeared.

It is repeatedly reported that four were injured even though only one was.
While one person died, only one other person was injured. People there told me that the person who got injured was throwing stones at the car and one of the stones fell on his foot due to which his foot was fractured and needed first aid.

It is often being asked why Salman should be treated above the law and why he should be given so many concessions?
I want to question why is he treated differently than any other citizen of the country. He was put in jail for 18 days, he is involved in this case for over 10 years and has been charged under sections that are applied on the rarest of rare cases.

He is being tried under a section harsher than the section for the Bhopal gas tragedy. The government had his passport and he could not travel without permission. Are these concessions? Is the government going soft? When Salman got bail, he was asked to give 20 lakhs which he immediately gave. There are so many accidents that take place. In how many cases has the person accused been asked to pay 20 lakhs? We would have also liked to give more money but we were asked to stay away from the witnesses by the law. How many people have been put through 18 days of jail? Why treat him unequally? Please treat him equally as a regular citizen and make him go through the process of law. And don’t prejudice the minds of the people by writing that he is being treated above the law.

It’s not that I am indifferent towards my son or that I am not interested or not worried about the whole thing, but the problem is that I have not ever spoken about any of his issues. This incident is subjudice, but I am forced to speak on a few points which seem obviously ridiculous and unfair. Apart from the judicial system, I also have full faith in our lawyers. I know that they are convinced that Salman is innocent and will thus fight this case not only professionally but emotionally also. But please, by saying hit-and- run, you are not just accusing Salman the person, but also his reputation and also casting aspersions on a man’s character. I know of three cases where Salman has saved the lives of people. Once in Bandra, there was an accident where he saved the life of one of the two brothers in an accident that had taken place on the road. That family always tells him that their one son is alive only because of him. There was another accident at Worli where a truck had hit a Maruti. He took the people in the Maruti to the hospital and saved their lives. Don’t put a question mark on his character. That night in the accident too, he had got down and wanted to help. But there was a police guard with him, who to protect Salman, took him away as people were throwing stones at the car.

Would you like to comment on Abha Singh’s involvement in Salman’s case?
Hindustan mein corruption itna badh gaya hai ki, mujhe lagta hai ki Hindustan ki 120 crore population mein, yeh doh log hi bachche huen hai jo honest hai — Abha Singh aur YP Singh. I feel it is society’s and the government’s responsibility to preserve these two, just like we preserve Taj Mahal.


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