Entertainment

Salman Khan handed five-year jail term in hit and run case

MUMBAI: A Mumbai court on Wednesday awarded five years jail sentence to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan who found guilty of a hit and run case in 2002 in which a man was crushed to death under his car’s wheels and another was injured, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The court found Salman Khan guilty of culpable homicide under section 304 of the Indian criminal law. Judge handed him five-year term in jail and 25000 rupees fine.

According to reports, the lawyers of Bollywood actor will challenge the sessions court verdict in the high court and will also request for his release on bail.

The police will transfer Salman Khan to jail and he will remain there until his counsels get reprieve from the high court.

Khan was seen weeping in the courtroom when the judge announced guilty verdict against him.

The police taken Salman Khan in custody after the court pronounced the star actor as guilty in the case.

Salman’s brothers Sohail Khan, Arbaz Khan and brother in law Atul Agnihotri were also present inside the courtroom where Judge WW Deshpande ruled the filmstar guilty of killing a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run car crash.

Khan, star of score of Bollywood blockbusters was earlier accused of driving his car into a group of homeless people sleeping near a Mumbai bakery after spending the evening at an upmarket bar, killing one of them.

A string of prosecution witnesses, including survivors of the crash, have testified that Khan was at the wheel when his vehicle crashed at speed into a group of half a dozen men sleeping on the street in September 2002.

The trial began in earnest last year after a series of court hearings and legal hold-ups.

When Khan finally took the stand, he pleaded not guilty and told the court that his driver was responsible for mounting the pavement in the upmarket suburb of Bandra West.

A constable attached to Khan’s security detail said in his statement to police that the drunk actor lost control of the car while driving at about 90 kilometres (55 miles) 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, said.

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 Khan’s lawyers said the actor 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.

They also said that the victim, Nurulah Mahbob Sharif, was killed during an operation to move the car, rather than the crash itself, when the bumper fell off and landed on him.

Finally, last month, his driver took the stand and said he crashed after the front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult.

Khan has starred in more than 100 films and television shows since his first hit “Maine Pyar Kiya” (I Fell in Love) in the 1980s.

The verdict is being awaited with baited breath both by his fans and Bollywood studios who stand to lose millions of dollars if they have to cancel filming for movies he has been signed up to.

One report by the Press of Trust of India said more than $31 million was riding on the verdict.

If he were to be jailed, Khan would become the second big-name Bollywood actor to be imprisoned in the last two years. Sanjay Dutt, the star of a series of gangster movies, is currently behind bars over possession of weapons linked to several bombings in Mumbai in 1993.

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