Mumbai, March 6: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's fans vouch for his dare-devil cop acts on the silver screen in blockbusters like "Dabanng", "Wanted" and "Ek Tha Tiger". And, it is the same actor who "shrewdly" used his "superstar" status to evade jail in the 2002 hit-and-run-case.
Forget about evading jail, in fact, the 47-year-old actor managed to get 87 exemptions (yes, you have read it right) from appearing before the court.
The exemptions were in relation to the hit-and-run case. He was also one of the accused in the infamous hunting of Chinkara, an endangered species in Rajasthan, while shooting for a film.
The number of exemptions itself is a record of sort for any accused facing criminal charges. The trail of the case began in Bandra court in 2006.
It means the actor and his battery of lawyers managed to dupe the law for almost 11 years, after the accident occurred.
Now, the actor known for his bad-temper has questioned the verdict of a magistrate of a lower court saying it is "erroneous" and "in bad taste". The actor has filed a petition in a Mumbai sessions court against a lower court's order.
The Mumbai sessions court will hear Salman's plea against the lower court's order on Wednesday, March 6.
In January 2013, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate V S Patil slapped the charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder' on the actor and referred the case to Sessions Court for trial. At present, Salman is being tried under section 304 (I), (rash and negligent driving) which attracts maximum punishment of two years. Section 304 (II) attracts the maximum sentence of ten years.
On the fateful night of September 28, 2002, the actor allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol had run over his Toyota Land Cruiser on homeless people who were sleeping on the pavement. In the accident one person was killed and four were injured.
It seems justice for the victims in the case is impossible to arrive at. Almost like a Bollywood flick script, the case went through several twists and turns. First it was Salman Khan's police bodyguard Ravindra Patil, who deposed before the court saying that the actor was at the wheel and he was drunk. But, later Patil changed his statement and was declared a hostile witness by the prosecution. Patil was also suspended from the police force, who later died of tuberculosis.
Another witness in the case, Ramasrey Pandey, who also sustained injures in the accident also turned hostile and told the court that he had not seen the actor behind the wheel of his vehicle. But chemical analysis report says a different version. In fact, the blood test done on the actor nails him as a culprit. The test found 62 mg of alcohol in Salman Khan's blood.
Salman Khan himself managed to manipulate the case by making bizarre comments in the case.
Salman in his argument, had said that there was no fixed spot for the homeless, who slept on footpaths every night. "It is not possible for a person staying in the same area to anticipate the presence of people sleeping on a particular footpath at 2.45am," Salman argued
Salman had called the 2002 incident "an unfortunate incident beyond his control, such as an act of God."
Yes, Salman Khan it was an unfortunate incident where justice has once again being murdered, as the accused enjoys good amount of power and clout.