Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai: A Mumbai sessions court on Wednesday charged Bollywood superstar Salman Khan with culpable homicide not amounting to murder in connection with the 2002 hit-and-run case.
47-year-old Salman was booked under sections 304 Part (2), 279,337,338,427 IPC section 134(a) (b) Motor Vehicles Act section 66(B). If convicted under Section 304 Part (2), Salman can be sent to 10 years in jail.
The judge read out the charges to Khan in a jam packed court and asked him whether he would plead guilty, to which Salman said that he will not plead guilty.
Though the court exempted Salman from personal appearance during the trial, the court made it clear that he would have to present himself whenever the court would deem his presence necessary.
The case has been transferred to another court which will take it up for hearing on August 19.
Salman, driving a Land Cruiser, had allegedly crushed a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra in the wee hours of September 28, 2002. He was reportedly in a drunken state at the time of the accident.
Earlier, the court had rejected Khan’s appeal against the magistrate`s order directing a retrial of the case under the stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The arguments in the case concluded in early May and Khan`s lawyer Ashok Mundargi had contended that the lower court`s order was "erroneous, bad in law and contrary to evidence on record".
Earlier, Khan had been tried under the less severe Section 304A of IPC, relating to causing death by negligence, which stipulates a maximum two years in jail.
However, the metropolitan magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses in the case, had invoked the more serious charge against Khan.
Public prosecutor had said that a witness, police bodyguard Ravindra Patil, who is no more now, had repeatedly warned Khan not to drive rashly but the actor allegedly did not pay heed.