Salman Khan's not-guilty verdict in 2002 hit-and-run case back in court; won't be fast-tracked

Salman Khan is currently riding high on the success of his latest feature film, Sultan, which got an opening of over 40 million rupees (Dh2.2 million) on its first day. But his iniquities will not leave him alone. The 50-year-old actor’s acquittal in the Mumbai hit-and-run case of 2002 has been challenged by the government […]

Salman Khan is currently riding high on the success of his latest feature film, Sultan, which got an opening of over 40 million rupees (Dh2.2 million) on its first day. But his iniquities will not leave him alone.

The 50-year-old actor’s acquittal in the Mumbai hit-and-run case of 2002 has been challenged by the government of Maharashtra but the Supreme Court has refused to expedite the hearing.

Khan allegedly ran over five people sleeping on a Mumbai pavement in September 2002 while driving his SUV in an inebriated state, killing one and injuring the rest.

In May 2015, nearly 13 years after the incident, the Bollywood actor was found guilty by a Mumbai Sessions Court and sentenced to five years imprisonment, but was bailed within hours. The case was then presented in the Mumbai High Court, which ruled in Khan’s favour and acquitted him of all charges because of “lack of evidence”.

In February 2016, the government of Maharashtra filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s verdict. The Supreme Court admitted the case on July 5, but refused a plea expedite the hearing, despite the case being open for almost 14 years. The court said that there are enough cases awaiting decision and Khan’s hearing could not be fast-tracked just because he is a high-profile personality.

Going by the fact that India’s apex court is still handling criminal case hearings from 2011-2012, Khan is unlikely to be tried for another two or three years. The actor responded through his counsel that he would like the matter to be “heard and decided on merits”.

Meanwhile, Khan did not appear on July 7 before the Mumbai-based women’s rights organisation, Maharashtra State Commission For Women (MSCW), which had summoned to explain a comment he made in an interview a few weeks ago.

His letter was rejected by MSCW chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar. “We will not accept anything till Salman appears in person,” she said.

The MSCW has now set July 14 as the new date, and stated that it is Khan’s “last chance” to appear.

The Bollywood star found himself in trouble after comparing his rigorous filming schedule for Sultan to the plight of a raped woman.

artslife@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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