An Indian court has sentenced Bollywood star Salman Khan to five years in jail for killing a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run driving incident in Mumbai. The man was among five people who were run over in the incident. The actor was charged with culpable homicide.
Khan had said his driver was behind the wheel, but the judge said the actor was driving the car and was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Legal experts expect the actor to appeal against the verdict. Khan’s lawyers have already applied for bail in the Bombay high court which is expected to hear the case shortly, reports say. The actor remains in the trial court while his fate is being decided. Correspondents say the guilty verdict is a huge setback for Khan although he could have been jailed for 10 years.
The actor is one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, appearing in more than 80 Hindi-language films. Several of his films, including Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun, have been huge commercial hits.
On Wednesday morning, as the actor drove to court with his family and friends, fans prayed for the actor’s acquittal.
But Judge DW Deshpande found him guilty on the charge of culpable homicide. “You were driving the car; you were under the influence of alcohol,” he told the actor as soon as the court proceedings began.
The 49-year-old actor was also found guilty of negligent driving and causing grievous harm to the victims and given separate terms for each offence, but defence lawyers said all the sentences would run concurrently.