Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been convicted and imprisoned for 5 years in a 2002 hit and run case. A trial court in Mumbai found the actor guilty of running over 5 people on the pavement driving his SUV in Mumbai 13 years ago. One person had died, while 4 others were injured after the accident.
Pronouncing the guilty verdict, Additional Sessions Judge DW Deshpande said “You were driving the car”.
The actor was facing trial under multiple charges, the most serious of them being 304 (part 2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Later in the day, after the conclusion of arguments on the quantum of sentence, the court sentenced the Bollywood star for 5 years in jail.
The actor has however, got a temporary reprieve with Bombay High Court granting him interim bail till 8th May as he moved the High Court to challenge the trial court order.
Earlier during the trial, prosecution and defence had concluded their arguments on 21st April this year after which the verdict was reserved by the Sessions Judge. Further the graver charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder were added after the magistrate had ordered re-trial and the case was referred to the Sessions Court.
In a case, which saw a long pendency and various twists and turns, the prosecution argued of strong evidence against the actor that he was in a drunken state and over-speeding when he lost control of the car and ran over those people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in Bandra locality of Mumbai on 28th February 2002. The prosecution had also claimed that Salman Khan along with his cousin Kamaal Khan, who was with him, had fled the scene after ramming his SUV.
Defending himself, Salman Khan had refuted with prosecution charges claiming that he has been slapped with a false case and he was not driving the car.
“I was not drunk… I was not driving, driver Ashok Singh was at the wheel… I was at the spot for 15 minutes after the accident,” he had recorded his statement before the court.
Salman’s driver Ashok Singh is the only defense witness produced during the trial by his lawyers. The driver too had corroborated with his employer’s claims. “I was driving when the accident took place… the tyre burst and brake jammed. I narrated the incident to police but was made to wait at the police station. I suspected foul play and informed Salman about it.”
But the court disagreed with the defense version as it pronounced that the actor himself was driving the car when the accident happened.
Present in the court when the verdict was pronounced, Salman Khan reportedly broke down before his lawyer.
Till Tuesday, the actor was busy shooting for a film outside Mumbai. Lots of relative, friends and well-wishers had called upon at his residence extending their support.