In a jolt to the prosecution, Salman Khan, film actor and a witness in the case of alleged Bollywood nexus with the underworld, on Tuesday turned hostile in a special court, saying he had not received any threat to act in a film.
Salman denied he had received threats from any quarter to act in a film and also failed to identify accused Abdul Rahim Allah Baksh, sitting in the dock.
According to the police, Abdul Rahim was a front man of the Pakistan-based gangster Chhota Shakeel, and was working as an assistant to film producer Nasim Rizvi.
Rizvi is an accused in the case and has been charged with forging links with Shakeel to target film personalities for financial gains.
Deposing before Justice A P Bhangale, Salman went back on his statement to the police that Rizvi had threatened him to act in film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke because he was not giving dates due to a busy schedule.
Salman also refuted his earlier statement that Shakeel had ordered him to sign the film contract.
Accoring tothe prosecution, the film was made by producer Rizvi and financed by Bharat Shah at Shakeel's behest and that all three of them were partners in the venture.
"Yes, Shakeel called me on my cell phone twice in 2000. Once when I was in London and later in Mumbai. He just said hello to me," Salman told prosecutor Rohini Salian.
When asked why Shakeel had called him, Salman said, "Maybe he is a fan of mine."
To another question, Salman said, "I do not know Abdul Rahim or Anjum." Both are alleged members of the Shakeel gang and accused in the case. While Abdul Rahim is in custody, Anjum is absconding.
The actor said Shakeel had talked to him twice and had merely wished him "Assalam Valeikum". Salman said, "He [Shakeel] may be my fan, but Abu Salem is even bigger fan of mine."
Asked if he knew underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Salman said, "I have heard of him, but I do not know him personally."
About Dawood's brother Noora Ibrahim, the actor said he had met him in Dubai few years back to greet his children.
Prosecutor Salian then confronted him with a photograph from a city newspaper showing Salman and Noora together in the frame. Salman said, "Yes, I am in the photograph." The photograph was then taken on record by the court.
Salman said Rizvi had approached him three years ago to act in his film, but he had declined saying he needed a good director.
He then suggested the Abbas-Mastan duo and Rizvi said he would approach them for directing his film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, the actor told the court.
The actor, however, denied knowledge about Rizvi's alleged links with the underworld. "I had read about it in the newspapers, but found it hard to believe," he said. "All that I know about Rizvi is that he is a fine producer and a thorough gentleman."
Key witness identifies Bharat Shah