MUMBAI — Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted interim bail till May 8 by the Bombay High Court here on Wednesday. The 49-year-old actor was earlier sentenced to five years in prison for the death of Nurullah Mehboob Sharif, which occurred in September 2002 after an inebriated Khan rammed his car into a bakery in Bandra.
He was reportedly granted bail because the judgment copy wasn't received by the HC, according to a tweet by ABP News.
BREAKING: Salman Khan granted interim bail till Friday since judgment copy not received— ABP News (@abpnewstv) May 6, 2015
For his bail plea, Khan was being represented by famed lawyer Harish Salve.
Earlier, the star was pronounced guilty by Mumbai Sessions court for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Additional judge DW Deshpande said that it was "not probable" that the car was being driven by Ashok Singh, his driver, who recently took responsibility for the accident.
He has been charged and found guilty under the following sections:
Under the Indian Penal Code:
- Section 304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
- Section 279 (rash and negligent driving)
- Sections 337 and 338 (causing hurt by act endangering life and causing grievous hurt respectively)
- Section 427 (mischief causing damage to property)
Under the Motor Vehicle Act:
- Sections 34 (a), (b) read with 181 (driving vehicle in contravention with rules), and 185 (driving at great speed after consuming alcohol)
Under Bombay Prohibition Act:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
Immediately after Judge Deshpande handed down the punishment at 1:30 pm, the actor was taken into custody. Khan was given a copy of the judgement following which his lawyer quickly moved the High Court in appeal, PTI reported.
He was also pronounced guilty of driving without a licence for which he received two months jail term. The actor was also found guilty of driving under the influence of liquor. Khan was in tears when Judge Deshpande pronounced the verdict.
"All charges have been proved against you...What you have to say?" the judge asked Salman who was in the dock.
"I hold that you were driving the vehicle. You were intoxicated. I also do not agree with your plea that the person who had died had received fatal injuries after a crane dropped the car on the persons underneath while removing it," the judge said, rejecting the defence's claim that the actor's driver Ashok Singh was at the wheel when the accident took place.
Salman, attired in a white shirt and light blue denim jeans, however, insisted, "I was not driving the car...But I respect your decision and accept it. My lawyer will speak on my behalf."
In a related development, the court rejected the plea of activist Santosh Daundkar seeking action against the police for perjury (giving false evidence under oath) for examining a wrong set of doctors in the trial, thereby delaying the process of justice.
He had also sought action against the police for not examining a key witness--singer Kamaal Khan, who was in the vehicle at the time of mishap. Dismissing Daundkar's plea as "frivolous", the court imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the activist.
Salman's brothers Arbaaz and Sohail, sisters Alvira and Arpita stood beside him in the court. Former Congress MLA Baba Siddiqui, film producer Ramesh Taurani, Salman's secretary Reshma Shetty and private bodyguard Shera were also present.
The courtroom number 52 was packed with reporters, lawyers and policemen, while scores of his fans had gathered outside. The fresh trial commenced in the sessions court in April last year after a Magistrate referred the case to it after slapping on Salman the aggravated charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Before the quantum of sentence was pronounced today, prosecutor Pradeep Gharat sought deterrent punishment for Salman saying a strong message should go to the society that such acts would be dealt with seriously. Gharat said he did not agree with Salman's argument that the mishap was an act of God. "It was a serious offence and maximum punishment should be awarded to the accused," he said.
Automobiles have become a death trap due to careless driving and a message should be sent to the society that in such cases the accused cannot get away with a lighter punishment, the prosecutor said.
On the other hand, the actor's lawyer Srikant Shivade said that "Salman's case was on a better footing than the Alistair Pereira and Sanjeev Nanda BMW cases in which more than 5 persons were killed. In the Alistair case, seven people were killed and a bottle of liquor was found in the car."
In keeping with an earlier direction of the Bombay High Court, Salman had also deposited Rs 19 lakh as compensation for the victims in 2002 itself, said his lawyer. The HC's order had come while hearing a PIL.
The lawyer further said that in 2007, the actor had started Salman Khan Foundation and an NGO 'Being Human' to serve the society. He has done a lot of community service, his lawyer said and submitted to the court the balance sheet of these organisations to show the charity work done by them.
The lawyer appealed to the court to take a "compassionate" view while awarding the sentence.
The defence lawyer also produced a physician's certificate which said the actor had a neurological problem which could aggravate, if proper care was not taken. He urged the court to also take this into consideration while awarding the sentence.
However, when Salman gestured to him not to raise this issue, the lawyer told the court that he was not pressing the plea. The court held Salman guilty of offences under IPC and other penal provisions. Under section 304 part two of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), he was awarded five years' RI and fined Rs 25,000.
Salman was also found guilty of offences under section 279 IPC (rash and negligent driving) and sections 337 and 338 IPC (causing hurt by acts endangering life or personal property of others), which prescribes six months jail.
Besides, he was sentenced to undergo jail for six months under sections 181 (driving without licence) and 185 of Motor Vehicles Act (drink driving).
He was also was found guilty under the Bombay Prohibition Act under section 66 (a) and (b) for which he received two months imprisonment and fine of Rs 500.
Salman Khan's lawyer pleads with judge for max sentence of 2yrs & a fine, keeping in mind Salman Khan's humanitarian work #SalmanVerdict— ANI (@ANI_news) May 6, 2015
Salman Khan's lawyer Shrikant Shivade cites Alistair Pereira& BMW hit and run Nanda case for reduced sentence (2yrs) #SalmanVerdict— ANI (@ANI_news) May 6, 2015
(With additional reporting by PTI)