Holding film actor Salman Khan prima facie guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a hit-and-run case, a sessions court today rejected his plea to drop the charge and framed 10 charges in all against him. The actor pleaded not guilty to all of them.
Khan's vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, had rammed a bakery in suburban Bandra, northwest Mumbai, on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four others who were sleeping outside.
The trial will begin on July 2.
The judge held that Khan was prima facie guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (section 304 of the Indian Penal Code) as he knew that rash and negligent driving had the potential of killing people.
Khan opposed the charge, which attracts a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, arguing that it was a case of rash and negligent driving, for which the maximum punishment prescribed under the IPC is two years.
Khan did not dispute any of the other charges. He said it was merely an accident case and he had no intention of killing anyone.
The charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder can only be tried by a court of sessions. If that charge had been dropped, the case against the actor could have been tried by a magistrate.
Prosecutor R V Kini argued that the charge of culpable homicide is justified because Khan knew he was driving rashly and in a negligent manner. He pointed out that the actor's police bodyguard Ravindra Patil had warned Khan against driving rashly. Besides, the actor lives in the vicinity of the place where the accident occurred and was familar with the topography of the area and also the fact that people sleep by the pavement there.
Khan has also been charged undersection 279 of the IPC (causing death by negligence of Noorulla Mahboob Sharif), section 338 IPC (causing grievous hurt to 17-year-old Abdul Rauf Shaikh), section 337 IPC (causing hurt to Kalim Mohammed Pathan and Munna Malai Khan), section 427 IPC (damaging property), section 134(A)(B) read with section 187 of the Motor Vehicles Act, section 3 read with section 181 of the same act (driving without licence), section 185 (driving under the influence of liquor), section 65 and section 66(i)(b) of the Bombay Prohibition Act.
The actor was present in court when the charges were framed.PTI