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Salman Khan was frozen', says eyewitness on that night

"The fateful night of September 28, 2002 is still fresh in my memory," said Andrew Francis Fernandes, one of the eye witnesses in Salman Khan's hit-and-run case. That night, seated in his home near American Express Bakery on Hill Road in Bandra West, Fernandes was among the first to swing into action when he heard a loud bang and people crying out loud.

Fernandes, 63, said he was awake and inside his house when he heard the noise. On Wednesday, he took press to the place where the accident had happened. Standing next to American Express Bakery and pointing at the spot, he said, "I rushed out and ran to the spot in my shorts. Initially I thought somebody was being attacked. But Salman's Toyota Land Cruiser had climbed the footpath and had run over five people who were sleeping there. I did not see the accident. When I went there, I saw Salman standing outside his car in a frozen state. He was totally shaken."

He said that Khan was surrounded by his bodyguard and friend Kamaal Khan, and slowly, people came to the spot. "He did not appear to be drunk. When Khan saw me, he recognised me. We had met several times in the past. I am known as Commander to my friends. He called out to me and said Commander, please save me. I told him everything will be under control and took him aside."

He added that a few people came armed with iron rods, possibly to attack Salman. The injured were crying for help. "While the injured were howling in pain, some people were enraged and were ready with iron rods. It all happened in a few minutes," added Fernandes. He said he pulled Salman and Kamaal from the crowd and they started walking away. "We walked a few feet and then stopped a passing car and sent the duo in it. They got dropped at Salman's home, which is not far from where it happened. Before leaving, he told me he left his phone and watch in the car."

Fernandes said that he got back and tried to attend to the injured. "It had become chaotic. A few policemen came and took the five to the hospital," he said. Subsequently, Fernandes gave his statements to the police and the court.

On Wednesday, he expressed disappointment over the verdict. "It was an accident. Unfortunately, it took somebody's life. As much as I respect the judiciary and its verdict, I feel bad for the actor," added Fernandes.

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