Bollywood’s mega-star Salman Khan faces jail if found guilty today of drunkenly driving over men sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai 13 years ago. One man had died and four were injured. The actor has arrived in court, which had asked him to be present by 11.15 am.
Here are 10 developments in the story:
- Salman Khan, star of blockbusters like “Bodyguard” and “Dabangg” (Fearless), is accused of losing control of his SUV and driving over the sleeping men, after a night of drinking rum and cocktails at an upmarket bar in Juhu on September 28, 2002. The prosecution has alleged that he then fled the scene.
- The 49-year-old actor is charged with culpable homicide and faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. After years of court hearings and legal hold-ups, Additional Sessions Judge DW Deshpande will pronounce verdict in the case today.
- Salman Khan, who wore a long-sleeved white shirt, blue jeans and dark glasses this morning, hugged his parents, waved at his fans and then got into the front of his white Mercedes Benz to drive to court. His brothers Sohail and Arbaaz have reached the court.
- Salman Khan pleaded not guilty at the trial, saying his driver Ashok Singh was driving when his Toyota Land Cruiser mounted the pavement where the five men were sleeping outside a bakery in the upmarket suburb of Bandra West.
- Last month, Ashok Singh, the sole witness of the defence, took the stand and said he was driving and crashed after the front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult. Ashok Singh drove Salman to court today.
- A constable attached to Salman Khan’s security detail said in his statement to police that the drunk actor lost control of the car while driving at about 90 kilometres an hour. “The people were sleeping on the footpath. Salman and (his cousin) Kamaal ran away from the spot,” the constable, who died in 2007 of tuberculosis, alleged.
- One of the sleeping labourers injured in the accident said in his statement that “Salman was so drunk he fell. He stood but he fell again and then he… ran away.”
- But Salman Khan’s lawyers said the star had in fact been drinking water all evening and had climbed out of the driver’s seat after the accident because the passenger side door had been damaged. They also said the homeless man was killed during an operation to move the car, rather than the crash itself, when the bumper fell off and landed on him.
- Salman Khan has starred in more than 100 films and television shows and is one of Bollywood’s busiest actors. He is said to have 200 crore riding on him with seven films in the pipeline, two under production. He also endorses 10 brands.
- The film fraternity has rallied around Salman Khan. Many visited him at his home last evening and today, including actor Shah Rukh Khan, with whom Salman had conducted a public feud for years.