Actor Salman Khan has challenged a magistrate court order enhancing the charge against him in a decade old hit-and-run case. The court had in January enhanced the charge from causing death due to negligence to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Khan has claimed that the order was erroneous,bad in law and contrary to the evidence on record.
In the over 80-page appeal filed before a sessions court on Tuesday,Khan stated that Magistrate Vasant Patil failed to appreciate that he had neither intention (to kill anyone) nor knowledge of the fact that the alleged act of driving rashly and negligently would lead to the death of a person.
The magistrate observed that Khan was aware that driving rashly on Mumbais footpaths would result in death or injury to people. The case was then sent to the sessions court under Section 304 (Part II) of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The charge can attract a sentence of 10 years,as against section 304 A of IPC (negligent and rash driving),which attracts a maximum sentence of two years.
The magistrate relied upon the complainant and Khans bodyguard Ravindra Patils statement to reach his conclusion. Patil,who claimed to have warned Khan against rash driving,succumbed to tuberculosis a few years later.
Khan,in his appeal slated to be heard on Wednesday,claimed that Patil had changed his statements. The magistrate failed to take note of apparent changes and contradictions in his statements as well as in the evidence given to the court,the actor stated.
Challenging the courts observation that any anyone who lives in Mumbai is aware that people sleep on footpaths,Khan said,There is no fixed spot on footpaths for the homeless to sleep on every night,and it is not possible even for a person staying in the same area to anticipate the presence of people sleeping on a particular footpath at 2.45 am.