An Indian court has sentenced Bollywood star Salman Khan to five years in jail for killing a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run driving incident in Mumbai.
The man was among five people who were run over in the incident. The actor was charged with culpable homicide. Khan had said his driver was behind the wheel, but the judge said the actor was driving the car and was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Legal experts expect the actor to appeal against the verdict. Khan’s lawyers have already applied for bail in the Bombay high court which is expected to hear the case shortly, reports say. The actor remains in the trial court while his fate is being decided.
Correspondents say the guilty verdict is a huge setback for Khan although he could have been jailed for 10 years.
On Wednesday morning, as the actor drove to court with his family and friends, fans prayed for the actor’s acquittal. But Judge DW Deshpande found him guilty on the charge of culpable homicide.
“You were driving the car; you were under the influence of alcohol,” he told the actor as soon as the court proceedings began.
The 49-year-old actor was also found guilty of negligent driving and causing grievous harm to the victims and given separate terms for each offence, but defence lawyers said all the sentences would run concurrently.
His family and friends inside the court were hoping that he would get a jail term of three years or less. But when the judge sentenced him to five years in prison, Khan’s expression changed immediately.
And even as his sisters tried to comfort him, the actor looked visibly upset.
Justice after 13 years?
September 2002: Salman Khan’s car runs over five people sleeping on a Mumbai street, killing a homeless man and injuring four others
*October 2002: Khan charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder – arrested but granted bail
*May 2003: Court rejects his plea to drop culpable homicide charge
*June 2003: Bombay high court drops culpable homicide charge; actor is then tried for rash and negligent driving
*October 2007: Prime witness, a constable who served in his security detail, dies
*March 2015: Khan tells the court he was not drunk and his driver was behind the wheel
*May 2015: Khan found guilty, sent to jail for five years
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