A sessions court here on Thursday ruled that trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which actor Salman Khan is an accused should start afresh. This means all evidence and witnesses will be re-examined. The hearing will begin from December 23.
On September 28, 2002, the actor allegedly killed a man sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra while driving a Land Cruiser. Four others were injured.
He was initially tried by a magistrate court for rash and negligent driving. However, in January, the court said he should be tried for the stronger charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Since the lower court did not have the jurisdiction to try this charge, the case was transferred to the sessions court.
In July, the sessions court framed charges against the actor for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which attracts a jail term of up to 10 years. However, last month, the actor pleaded for the trial to start afresh as he was not given the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses in the magistrate court.
“The amended Code of Criminal Procedure makes it mandatory to start the trial afresh for want of cross-examination. The prosecution can present fresh evidence and defence can cross-examine the same,” defence counsel Srikant Shivade told The Hindu.
Starting of the trial afresh will be a huge challenge for the Mumbai police as their prime witness, constable Ravindra Patil, who was Khan’s bodyguard, is dead. It was on his testimony that the magistrate court framed the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.