Mumbai, April 1: The re-trial in the hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan was on Tuesday deferred till April 28 by a Sessions court as the prosecution sought time to produce witnesses in view of police deployment on election duty. Investigating officer Rajendra Kane informed the court that police were deployed on election duty and hence they were not yet prepared to go ahead with the trial which was to commence on Tuesday.
Sessions Judge D W Deshpande asked the prosecution to produce on April 28 the first witness who was injured in the mishap in which the actor was involved, followed by eye witnesses in May.
This is the second occasion when the fresh trial has not begun. On March 26, three witnesses failed to turn up as they were either not available or untraceable. Salman’s lawyer Srikant Shivade said the actor was ready to face the trial while prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar said they would produce witnesses from April 28.
Clad in a white shirt and blue denim jeans, Salman came to the court and sat on a bench along with his bodyguard and sister Alvira Agnihotri. He keenly watched the proceedings and left as soon as the court announced the next date of hearing.
The judge ordered a fresh trial in this case, 12 years after the actor ran over his car on people sleeping on the road. Although the prosecution has submitted a list of 64 witnesses, it would not examine all of them, according to the public prosecutor. The prosecution had earlier submitted documents such as death certificate (of the person who was killed in the mishap) and injury certificates (of those who were injured) in this case. The court had admitted these documents after Salman’s lawyer submitted his say on admissibility of the documents.
Salman is facing the charge of running over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group of persons sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one and injuring four others.
On December 5 last year, the court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that the witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide, which was invoked against the actor midway through the case.
The charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder attracts a 10-year sentence. The actor had earlier been tried by a magistrate for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence, which entailed an imprisonment of two years.
The case, dragging on for over a decade, had taken a twist earlier this year when the magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court, as cases under this offence are tried by a higher court.