Bollywood’s mega-star Salman Khan has been found guilty of drunkenly driving over men sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai 13 years ago. One man had died and four were injured. He is charged with culpable homicide, which carries a jail term of up to 10 years.
Salman Khan faces the prospect of spending up to 10 years in jail if a judge finds him guilty of killing a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run crash reportedly after a night out drinking.
Additional Sessions Judge DW Deshpande told Salman Khan this morning, “you were driving the car” and held him guilty of all charges against him in the case.
Salman Khan, star of blockbusters like “Bodyguard” and “Dabangg” (Fearless), is accused of losing control of his SUV and driving over the sleeping men, after a night of drinking rum and cocktails at an upmarket bar in Juhu on September 28, 2002. The prosecution alleged he had fled the scene.
Salman Khan had pleaded not guilty at the trial, saying his driver Ashok Singh was driving when his Toyota Land Cruiser mounted the pavement where the five men were sleeping outside a bakery in the upmarket suburb of Bandra West.
Last month, Ashok Singh, the sole witness of the defence, took the stand and said he was driving and crashed after the front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult. Ashok Singh drove Salman to court today.
The judge also held today that the one man who died, had died in the crash and not during an operation to move the car, as alleged by the actors lawyers.
Salman Khan, who wore a long-sleeved white shirt, blue jeans and dark glasses, hugged his parents, waved at his fans and then got into the front of his white Mercedes Benz at his Bandra home to drive to court. His brother Sohail and sisters Alvira and Arpita are in court.
During the trial, a constable attached to Salman Khan’s security detail said in his statement to police that the drunk actor lost control of the car while driving at about 90 km an hour. “The people were sleeping on the footpath. Salman and (his cousin) Kamaal ran away from the spot,” the constable, who died in 2007 of tuberculosis, alleged.
One of the sleeping labourers injured in the accident said in his statement that “Salman was so drunk he fell. He stood but he fell again and then he… ran away.” But Salman Khan’s lawyers said the star had in fact been drinking water all evening and had climbed out of the driver’s seat after the accident because the passenger side door had been damaged.