A Mumbai court on Wednesday framed charges against actor Salman Khan for culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the hit-and-run case for which he may face a jail term upto 10 years, setting the stage for trial.
Apart from section 304(2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), the Bollywood superstar was also charged under sections 279 (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by an act), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 427 (causing damage or mischief to property) of IPC, and provisions of Motor Vehicles Act and Bombay Prohibition Act. The actor, however, pleaded not guilty to all these charges.
Clad in a grey shirt and black trousers, Salman appeared before sessions Judge U B Hejib, who had on July 19 summoned him on Wednesday for framing of charges for starting afresh the trial in the 11-year-old case.
The actor moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance during the trial which was granted. He was, however, directed to be present before the court whenever required. At the beginning of the proceedings, the judge expressed his inability to take up the case for framing the charges as he has been transferred.
However, prosecutor Shankar Erande pleaded that charges should be framed today itself as the actor was going abroad for two months which could further delay the trial. At his request, the judge read out the charges to Salman, who pleaded not guilty to all.
On September 28, 2002, Salman Khan's Land Cruiser allegedly ran over five people
outside American Express bakery on Hill Road in Bandra, killing one and injuring four others. Witnesses have alleged that the actor was driving the vehicle, but the actor has denied the charge.
Father Salim Khan has vehemently denied that Salman Khan fled the scene
report filed in 2007 had showed that Salman had 62 mg alcohol in his blood on the night of accident.
More serious charge
Last month on June 24 the Sessions court had ruled that the offense of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' under IPC holds against Salman Khan in a 2002 hit-and-run case and rejected his appeal challenging a Magistrate's order invoking this charge.
If convicted under the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder the actor might have to face up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Abha Singh alleged that because of police negligence, the hit-and-run case in court has been dragging on for the last 11 years. A Mumbai daily had pointed out that the cops had failed to serve summons to the actor in the 2002 hit-and-run case since November 2012, claiming he was not in town.
Bodyguard who tried to shield Salman
Earlier, according to reports in the media Salman's then police bodyguard Ravindra Patil had tried to shield the actor by telling the police that it was he who was driving the car. 64 witnesses testified before the court, and ultimately it was proved that it was Salman who was driving the vehicle. Ravindra Patil who was the prosecution witness later turned hostile and disowned his own statement. Patil was reported to have died under mysterious circumstances in 2007.
Compensating the victims
The Bombay High Court, while hearing a PIL on October 7, 2002, had directed Salman Khan to pay Rs.19 lakh as compensation to the victims within two weeks. This included Rs.10 lakh to the family of the deceased. The Khan family had got the compensation amount deposited with the court but according to reports they were not able to receive it at the time due to lack of proper identification.
Return my car.
It was also reported that Salman Khan had requested the court that his Landcruiser be returned, but the trial court refused.
In 1998, Salman spent three days in prison for hunting black bucks in Rajasthan during the shooting of Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Saath Saath Hain. The black buck is an endangered species and hunting it is a crime under the Wild Life Protection Act. Saif Ali Khan and Tabu were also accused of the crime. All three actors are currently out on bail.