Bollywood's Salman Khan to be tried for culpable homicide in 2002 hit and run case

Salman Khan could face imprisonment up to 10 years, with a Mumbai session court today saying that the actor would be tried for culpable homicide charge in connection with a 2002 hit and run case.

According to Shankar Erande, the public prosecutor in the case, the actor had been warned repeatedly by police bodyguard Ravindra Patil not to drive rashly, but the actor allegedly did not pay heed. The public prosecutor also added that Khan was drunk at the time of the accident in which one person was killed and four others were injured.

The actor was initially tried by a magistrate under the lesser charge of causing death by negligence (Section 304A of IPC), that provided for a maximum punishment of two years in jail, but  metropolitan magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses in the case, invoked the more serious charge under Section 304 (III) of the IPC against Khan.

In his argument against invoking the grave charge of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' under section 304 part II IPC, Khan's lawyer Ashok Mundargi had pleaded that the order of the magistrate was "erroneous, bad in law and contrary to evidence on record."

He contended that the magistrate, had failed to appreciate that Salman Khan neither had the intention (to kill people) nor the knowledge that his rash and negligent driving would kill a person and cause injury to four others

While opposing  Khan's appeal, public prosecutor Shankar Erande,  said the magistrate had rightly invoked the charge of culpable homicide as he had committed a serious offence.

The prosecutor submitted that Khan was drunk and his blood sample revealed 60 mg alcohol which was beyond the permissible limit.

In another development, advocate Abha Singh, appearing for activist Santosh Daundkar, urged the court to permit her to intervene in the matter, contending that section 301 of CrPc allowed her to assist the prosecutor.

Though the actor's counsel objected to Daundkar's plea for intervention, saying the activist had no locus standi in the matter, public prosecutor Erande said he had no objection.

Singh alleged the police had favoured Khan by not examining witnesses in the case in the last five years and insisted on the actor's regular appearance.

One person was killed and four others injured when the Land Cruiser that Salman Khan was allegedly driving, ran over a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra in early hours on 28 September, 2002.