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Hit-and-run case: Salman Khan found guilty and jailed for five years

Hit-and-run case: Salman Khan found guilty and jailed for five years

Bollywood Star actor Salman Khan was on Wednesday sentenced to five years in jail in a 2002 hit-and-run case by an Indian court. The popular actor – who has starred in some of Bollywood’s most successful films – however, escaped being sent to jail after the Bombay high court granted him interim bail till May 8, barely a few hours after the sessions court handed him the five-year term.

Khan was charged with running over five persons sleeping on a pavement outside a bakery in Bandra in his Toyota Land Cruiser early on September 28, 2002, killing one and injuring four.

Sessions court judge DW Deshpande said all the charges against the Salman Khan, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, had been proved, 12 years after the actor drove into a Mumbai pavement killing a homeless man after a night out drinking. The judge said 49-year-old Khan was driving the car at the time of the accident and the defence’s contention that his driver Ashok Singh was at the wheel was not probable.

"You were driving the car without a licence and you were under the influence of alcohol," Deshpande told a courtroom packed with Khan’s family members and journalists.

Khan, wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, broke down on hearing the verdict and witnesses said he wiped his tears with his shirt sleeve. Khan’s family members too were upset and his two sisters broke down in the courtroom.

During the lengthy trial, the prosecution examined 27 witnesses, including eyewitnesses, persons who were injured in the accident, employees of the Rain Bar where Khan was drinking, the doctor who took a blood sample of the actor, doctors who treated the injured, forensic experts and police officers.

Khan had pleaded not guilty and told the court his driver was at the wheel. The surprise element in the trial came when Khan's driver Ashok Singh came to the court after 12 years and deposed last month that he was at the wheel when the accident occurred. Singh said the car's front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult.

However, constable Ravindra Himmatrao Patil, who was part of Khan's security detail, said in his statement to police that the drunk actor lost control of the SUV while driving at speeds of up to 70 kmph.

"The people were sleeping on the footpath. Salman and (his cousin) Kamaal ran away from the spot," said Patil, who died in 2007.
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Last glimpse of Salman Khan before his conviction

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