The fate of Bollywood actor Salman Khan would be decided on May 6 when a sessions court will give its verdict in the hit-and-run case in which he is charged with killing one person and injuring four by ramming his car into a bakery shop in suburban Bandra 13 years ago.
Judge D.W. Deshpande today declared the date of the verdict, a day after the prosecution and defence concluded arguments in the trial which was conducted afresh after a Magistrate added the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and referred the case to the sessions court.
The culpable homicide offence, which provides for punishment upto 10 years, is triable by a sessions court and not by a Magistrate. Earlier, the Magistrate was trying Khan for rash and negligent driving, an offence under IPC which attracts punishment upto two years.
49-year-old Khan pleaded he was not driving the car at the time of mishap and that his driver Ashok Singh was behind the wheel. This has been corroborated by Singh who appeared as defence witness.
However, prosecution alleged that Khan was driving after having ‘Bacardi Rum’ in a bar. The actor, on the other hand, argued he was having a glass of water and not alcohol.
While prosecution pleaded that there were three persons in the car – Salman, his police bodyguard Ravindra Patil and singer friend Kamal Khan, the actor argued that there was a fourth person and he was Ashok Singh.
The defence lawyer also argued that the post-mortem report of the deceased suggested that he had crushing injuries and it had been caused when a crane could not lift the heavy SUV in one go and dropped it on victims.
Khan’s lawyer argued that the evidence of Ravindra Patil, an eyewitness, should be discarded as he had passed away and was not available for cross examination. On the other hand, the prosecution argued his evidence should be considered as he had seen Khan driving the car and was a key witness.
Patil had said in his statement that he had warned Khan not to drive rashly or else he would meet with an accident. He had also said that Khan was under the influence of liquor.
A court had in 2013 framed charges in a fresh trial against Khan for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The prosecution examined 27 witnesses to prove its case.