Bollywood Star Salman Khan Faces Possible 10 Years in Jail for Homicide Charge
NEW DELHI -- A Mumbai court announced Wednesday that Bollywood star Salman Khan will face charges for culpable homicide not amounting to murder for his involvement in a fatal car accident over a decade ago. In September 2002, Khan was involved in an alleged DUI (driving under the influence) accident which saw his Toyota Land Cruiser SUV veer onto a group of people sleeping on a sidewalk in Mumbai's Bandra suburb. The accident killed one man and injured four others.
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Khan, 47, was earlier tried for a lesser offense of causing death by negligence, which has a maximum two-year jail sentence; he will now stand trial under a more stringent law on culpable homicide not amounting to murder which could result in a maximum 10-year jail term.
Abha Singh, a lawyer who filed a petition on the case, told media outside the court that the judge, while framing the charges, said, “Salman Khan's blood contained 30 milligrams of alcohol -- according to that he was drunk.” Singh also has filed a separate petition questioning why the case has dragged on for more than a decade.
Khan has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 19 and while the court granted his plea seeking exemption from appearing in court on a day-to-day basis during the trial, he was informed that he would be summoned whenever asked by the judge.
The son of acclaimed veteran scriptwriter Salim Khan, Salman is one of Bollywood's most bankable stars, having appeared in about 90 films in his 25-year career. He is also host of the Indian version of Big Brother which has yielded strong ratings for Viacom18's Hindi entertainment channel Colors.
Khan's upcoming releases include Kick, which is scheduled to begin shooting in Glasgow this week, and Mental, directed by his brother Sohail Khan.