Mumbai, March 26 – A court here on Wednesday declined a plea by Bollywood actor Salman Khan to adjourn for three weeks the recording of his statement in the 2002 hit-and-run case, due to start on March 27.
Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande ordered Salman Khan to remain present in the court Friday when his statement, under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, will be recorded in his retrial for the September 28, 2002, accident in which he ran over pavement dwellers outside a bakery near the actor’s home in suburban Bandra. One person was killed and four others were injured.
The actor’s plea for adjournment came on grounds that his presence was required in a court in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur where he is accused of illegal possession and use of arms in poaching a blackbuck.
Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat strongly opposed the plea for adjournment filed by Salman Khan’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade on grounds that the hit-and-run case should be given priority as it is conducted on a day-to-day basis and its programme was fixed by the Mumbai court before the Jodhpur court schedules were finalised.
Gharat also informed the court that it had closed the evidence in the case and placed on record three photographs of the vehicle involved in the accident. From Friday, the actor’s statement will be recorded in which he will be able to put his side of the story.
The court would take the opportunity to question Salman Khan on various aspects of the trial, while the actor will be able to put up his defence to the evidence produced before the court by prosecution. Till date, around 25 witnesses have given evidence in the case.
Salman Khan was arrested soon after the accident and later the case was tried before a magistrate’s court for charges of rash and negligent driving, attracting a two-year jail sentence. However, a fresh trial was ordered after the enhanced charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was invoked, which stipulates a 10-year-long prison sentence.