Witnesses identify Salman Khan in 2002 hit-and-run case

Mumbai, May 6: Spelling trouble for Bollywood actor Salman Khan, two of three witnesses in the 2002 hit-and-run case Tuesday identified him in a sessions court here. (Read: Salman Khan hit-and-run case: Will Sajid Nadiadwala’s ‘Kick’ release as scheduled?)

One of the witnesses said he had seen the film star alighting from his SUV on the night of Sep 28, 2002, after the vehicle mowed down five pavement dwellers – killing one and injuring four others – near a bakery in suburban Bandra.

One of them also testified that Salman Khan was in an inebriated state and fell down while coming out of his vehicle, before running away from the site.

The second witness said he saw Salman Khan – who was present along with his sisters in court for the re-trial – “open the car door while stepping out”.

However, one of the three witnesses said that while he did see the actor getting out of the car, he could not recall the door from which the film star got out.

Four witnesses had escaped by the skin of their teeth after Salman Khan’s car ran over the pavement dwellers.

The three witnesses who deposed before the court were Manu Khan, M. Kalim Iqbal Pathan and Muslim Shaikh.

They were recently traced by police after Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande directed that the witnesses be kept ready for the re-trial.

The prosecution had earlier submitted a list of 64 witnesses but will only examine a few of them during the re-trial.

Enhanced charges were announced against Salman Khan in December 2013.

During the earlier trial by a magistrate court, Salman Khan was charged with causing death by negligence, which attracts a maximum imprisonment of two years.

However, after 10 years into the case, the court held that he should be tried under the enhanced charge – Indian Penal Code section 304(2) dealing with culpable homicide not amounting to murder – and the matter was referred to the sessions court.

In July 2013, the sessions court framed charges against Salman Khan under the enhanced charge which stipulates a 10-year jail term if found guilty.

The actor challenged the magistrate court’s order and sought fresh trial on the grounds that the defence was not given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses vis-a-vis the enhanced charge of culpable homicide.

Salman Khan is also charged under sections pertaining to causing death by negligence, causing hurt and grievous hurt, damaging property and sections of Motor Vehicles Act and Bombay Prohibition Act.