Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was today found guilty of driving a car under the influence of alcohol and ramming it into a roadside bakery 12 years ago in turn killing one man and injuring four others in the incident. All charges against him have been proved.
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Here’s everything you need to know:
1. The incident happened in the early hours of September 28, 2002 in suburban Bandra in Mumbai. Salman is charged of drunken driving and ramming a car over a few homeless persons, killing one and injuring four others.
2. The maximum sentence that the actor can get is a 10 years’ jail term, on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
3. The prosecution claimed that Salman’s rash driving claimed the life of Nurullah Mehboob Sharif and injured Kalim Mohammed Pathan, Munna Malai Khan, Abdullah Rauf Shaikh and Muslim Shaikh. It also produced RTO records to allege that the actor was driving the car without a license.
4. However, Salman claimed that he was not driving the Toyota Land Cruiser and it was his driver Ashok Singh who was behind the wheel at that time.
5. Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade argued that post-mortem report of the deceased suggested that he had received crushing injuries and it had been caused when a crane called by police could not lift the heavy SUV in one go and dropped it on the victims.
6. Meanwhile, the defense lawyer argued that the mishap had occurred as the car crashed into a shop after its left tyre had burst.
7. A crucial witness in the case is Ravindra Patil, a police bodyguard who was in the car back in 2002. Patil, who passed away during the trial, had said that Salman was under the influence of alcohol when he met with the accident. Salman’s lawyer argued that the evidence of Patil should be discarded as he had passed away and was not available for cross examination.
8. Salman faces charges under IPC sections 304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) which attracts upto 10 years in prison; 279 (rash and negligent driving) which stipulates six months jail; 337 & 338 (causing hurt by act endangering life and causing grievous hurt respectively) with punishment up to two years, and 427 (mischief causing damage to property) with maximum punishment of upto two years. He is also charged under Motor Vehicle Act, with Sections 34 (a), (b) read with 181 (driving vehicle in contravention of rules) and 185 (driving at great speed after consuming alcohol).
9. The lone defence witness is Ashok Singh, who lives in Andheri and who has been the Khan family’s driver since 1990. He appeared before the court for the first time on April 20 last month saying that it was he and not the actor who was driving the SUV at the time of the accident. He also told the court a tyre burst had caused it.
10. It has taken 12 long years for the case to reach a verdict after a series of legal interruptions. Fresh charges were filed last year. Salman, one of the busiest actors in Bollywood, has stakes of up to Rs 150 Cr with several of his films in the stages of production.
(With PTI inputs)