Salman hit-and-run case verdict slated this week

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court is slated to deliver its verdict this week on an appeal filed by Indian actor Salman Khan against the five-year sentence awarded to him in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

The arguments in the case concluded on December 6 and Judge AR Joshi said he would begin dictation of judgement on the appeal from December 8.

A sessions court had on May 6 convicted the 49-year-old actor on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under IPC and other offences. An aggrieved Khan filed an appeal in the High Court which granted him bail before hearing arguments in the case.

It is the case of the prosecution that Khan had consumed liquor at Rain Bar and Restaurant at Vile Parle before ramming his Toyota lexus car into a shop at suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002. One person died in the mishap and four others were injured.

The prosecution has argued that there were three persons in the car — Khan, his singer friend Kamaal Khan and the actor’s police bodyguard Ravindra Patil, who passed away during the trial in 2007.

Relying upon the statement of Patil, the prosecution argued that Salman was driving the car. However, it did not examine Kamaal who has since then gone abroad.

On the other hand, Salman’s lawyer Amit Desai has argued that Salman was not driving the car and that it was his family driver Ashok Singh who was behind the wheel. He said the trial court had erred in not accepting the testimony of Singh, who deposed as defence witness saying that he was driving the car on the ill-fated day and not the actor.

According to prosecution, witnesses at the accident spot had seen Salman coming out of the driver’s seat. They also said that Salman ran away from the spot after the accident. The prosecution also alleged that the actor was missing from his residence for several hours after the mishap.

After the incident, driver Singh went to Bandra police station to tell the truth, but his statement was not recorded and after a few hours Salman himself went to the police station and surrendered.