All eyes are on the Bombay High Court which will hear today Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s appeal against his conviction in the 2002 hit-and-run case and his plea for bail.
Salman’s appeal is listed for admission on the board of Justice Abhay Thipsay, who had yesterday granted him an interim bail for two days.
The actor was convicted and sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment on various charges under IPC, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, besides penal provisions under Motor Vehicles Act and other laws. The trial court had found him guilty of ramming the American Express bakery in suburban Bandra with his Toyota Land Cruiser on September 28, 2002, killing one person and wounding four others sleeping on the pavement outside.
Soon after the conviction, Salman’s lawyer had moved the High Court which granted him interim bail for two days since he had not been given a detailed, reasoned copy of the verdict on the basis of which his appeal would be heard. Later in the evening, trial court Judge D W Deshpande handed over a 240-page copy of the judgement to Salman.
“Since the appellant was on bail throughout the trial and since a copy of the judgement of conviction has not yet been furnished to him, it would be proper to protect the appellant for some time in the interest of Justice,” Justice Thipsay observed while granting him interim bail till May 8.
Salman, who is on bail since last 13 years in this case, is not expected to present in the High Court when his appeal comes up for hearing. Legal sources said his lawyers Harish Salve and Srikant Shivade would argue his bail plea in the absence of the actor as he was not required to be present under the law.
In the appeal, the actor has challenged his conviction saying that the trial court had not considered his plea that he was not driving the car and that his family driver Ashok Singh was behind the wheel.
The actor has also challenged the findings of the court that he was drunk and was driving under the influence of liquor.
Salman has also pleaded that the trial court had wrongly convicted him under the ‘culpable homicide’ charge because he had no knowledge that he would meet with an accident.