5:13 pm - Friday April 18, 7169

Salman Khan sentenced to 5 years in jail

A Sessions Court in Mumbai on Wednesday held actor Salman Khan guilty in the 2002 hit-and-run case 13 years after the incident.

salman khan
Last glimpse of Salman Khan on May 6, 2015, before he was convicted of culpable homicide for running over a man in 2002. Photo: Hindustan Times

Pronouncing the judgement in a packed courtroom, sessions judge D.W. Deshpande convicted the 49-year-old actor for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced him to five years rigorous imprisonment.

“Taking stock of the evidence the court holds that you were driving the vehicle. The court also holds that you were under intoxication. All the charges against you are proved,” the judge told Salman.

Asked what he had to say about his conviction, the actor told the court to take whatever steps “in the interest of justice.”

Salman, who came to court clad in a white shirt and light blue denims. On hearing the verdict, he seemed to put up a stoic composure, but bowed down his head and shuffled his feet.

His sisters Alvira Khan Agnihotri, who has been a regular at the hearings, and Arpita Khan cried when the judgement was pronounced. They stood by their brother’s side after the verdict along with brother Arbaz Khan.

Last year, a fresh trial began in the case after Salman was charged under a harsher section 304 II of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

The other charges against him include IPC sections 279 (rash driving), 134 (abetment of assault) and sections of the Motor Vehicle Act. If convicted, he may face imprisonment of up to 10 years.

In his deposition before the court in March, Salman said he was neither drunk nor was he driving his car. “I was awake through the night at that time. And I was stressed about this (accident),” he said when asked about his dilated pupils. Denying running away from the scene, he told the court, “I was told that it would be easier to help the victims in my absence…It is false that the bakery people caught me.”

According to the prosecution’s case, the actor was driving his car in a drunken state; he lost control of his car and ran over pavement dwellers. Constable Ravindra Patil, his bodyguard, who was present with him at the time, is the complainant in the case. Mr. Patil said in his statement to the police that Salman was in an inebriated condition and that he had warned the actor against driving in such a condition. The constable died in October 2007, before the retrial. The defence sought to discard his statement.

Salman’s defence lawyer Shrikant Shivade had contended that the prosecution should have produced fingerprint reports which would have been clinching evidence about the person who was driving the car at the time of the accident. He also claimed that the prosecution on purpose destroyed some crucial evidence in the case including the parking tag of J W Marriott hotel.

The prosecution examined 27 witnesses, while the defence examined only one witness – Salman’s driver Ashok Singh. One of the prosecution witnesses was a security guard Sachin Kadam, who was declared hostile after he backtracked from his statement of having seen the actor at the spot of the accident.

-The Hindu