Salman Khan

On September 28, Salman was involved in an accident in which he under the influence of alcohol killed a man and injured four. But what is most interesting is that he is the only such offender in custody, charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, for which he could serve up to ten years imprisonment. On 25th Oct, Salman gets bail after 18 days in custody. When there are speculations amongst the general public as to whether Salman is paying a heavier price for being a celebrity, Salman shows no sign of frustration or anger and infact believes that what happened, happened for the best.

Excerpts from an interview with Sanyukta.

What exactly happened on the 28th Sept, the fateful night?

Well I had gone to the Rain bar where I had a few Bacardis and was on my way home late night when the Toyota Landcruiser suddenly swerved into the American Express laundry on Hill Road. Believe me it was so sudden that noone could have anticipated that something like this will happen. The next thing that I saw was that a man was dead and a few others were injured. For a few seconds I was completely numb but then I gathered myself together and got down to see what had actually happened. I wanted to take the injured to the hospital but soon there was a crowd and they stared to attack me and started throwing stones at me. I was hurt at several places all over my body. In the melee, somebody even snatched my wristwatch and my wallet. A few of the people around saved me and told me to get out of there.

Who was at the wheel?
As I have said earlier that my driver Ashok Singh was driving and I was sitting behind.

But Kamal Khan, who was with you, has told the police that you were at the wheel. And there are many eyewitnesses who would vouch for that.

That is not true. I was not driving, Ashok was. I don't know what Kamal said and I don't believe that. Ashok was at the wheel and he was not driving very fast as some newspapers have reported. Its hard to say what exactly happened that night, probably the brakes failed but whatever happened I am sorry for that. That night I cried a lot because I couldn't do anything for the injured people.

If you felt so bad then why didn't you do anything for the victims like visit them or give them financial support.
As I said I wanted very much to help the injured but my lawyers advised me against it because that would have been misconstrued as influencing witnesses.

But then why did you run away instead of going to the police station?

I want to make it clear that I handed myself over to the cops. The cops did not arrest me as has been reported but I surrendered myself. In fact, between September 28 and October 7, when I was re-arrested, my lawyers advised me to apply for anticipatory bail. I said 'no' to them. I said let the cops do what they want. I cooperated fully. If I wanted, I could have saved myself all the bother by making phone calls to a couple of really influential persons. I cannot name them, but they are really powerful people. But I did no such thing.

Did all this happen because you were depressed about the interview that Aishwarya gave to Bombay Times in which she talked of the end of her relationship with you.

No, that interview didn't affect me. Our relationship was over a year-and-a-half back. So there was no question of any interview by her affecting me now. So just stop linking this issue with her.

What was your jail experience like?

Well this was not the first time I was in jail. I have been to jail before but yes I was definitely strong. I was given a separate jail which was about 8 ft by 6 ft. I was given a separate blanket. All the inmates were living like that. In police custody, I had to share the toilet with a large number of people. I shared my home food with other inmates. I also made friends with them and infact took it in my stride. I think what happened, happened for the best because in jail I really got time to think about my life and I think I need to get it in track. I read the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. I have no complaints

Finally do you think your celebrity status has been a handicap?

Yes, you pay the price for being a celebrity. Salman Khan is the greatest actor in Bollywood. But as I said I have no complaints. Maybe I needed this. It has taught me many lessons in life

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