MUMBAI: Bollywood star Salman Khan, known for his bulging biceps and off-camera temper tantrums, has been found guilty of drunkenly driving over sleeping homeless men 12 years ago, killing one of them. “It has been proved that Salman Khan was driving the car under influence of alcohol,” judge said while adding that he has been found guilty...
MUMBAI: Bollywood star Salman Khan, known for his bulging biceps and off-camera temper tantrums, has been found guilty of drunkenly driving over sleeping homeless men 12 years ago, killing one of them.
“It has been proved that Salman Khan was driving the car under influence of alcohol,” judge said while adding that he has been found guilty of all charges pertaining to 2002 hit-and-run case.
Khan may face up to ten-year imprisonment in the case. Court is yet to announce the sentence.
Family members of Salman Khan were also present in the court hearing amid strict security. A big number of his fans also gathered outside the court premises.
Khan, star of blockbusters “Bodyguard” and “Dabangg” (Fearless), has been found guilty of losing control of his SUV after a night of drinking rum and cocktails at an upmarket bar in India's entertainment capital Mumbai in 2002 and fleeing the scene.
After years of court hearings and legal hold-ups, a judge in Mumbai on Wednesday finally handed down his verdict on the 49-year-old actor on charges of culpable homicide.
A household name in India with millions of fans, Khan faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty following a trial whose every twist has been followed by the country's media.
Khan pleaded not guilty at trial, saying his driver was responsible for the late night crash in which his Toyota Land Cruiser mounted the pavement where five men were sleeping outside a bakery in the upmarket suburb of Bandra West.
A constable attached to Khan's security detail said in his statement to police that the drunk actor lost control of the car while driving at about 90 kilometres (55 miles) an hour.
“The people were sleeping on the footpath. Salman and (his cousin) Kamaal ran away from the spot,” the constable, who died in 2007 of tuberculosis, said.
One of the sleeping labourers injured in the accident said in his statement that “Salman was so drunk he fell. He stood but he fell again and then he… ran away.”
But Khan's lawyers said the action and romantic comedy star had in fact been drinking water all evening and had climbed out of the driver's seat after the accident because the passenger side door had been damaged.
They also said the homeless man was killed during an operation to move the car, rather than the crash itself, when the bumper fell off and landed on him.
Finally, last month, his driver took the stand and said he crashed after the front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult.
– Body-building bachelor –
Khan, the son of a respected film writer, has starred in more than 100 films and television shows since his first hit “Maine Pyar Kiya” (I Fell in Love) in the 1980s.
But the body-building actor is no stranger to controversy off screen and in 1998 he spent more than a week in prison for killing endangered Indian gazelles.
Khan, who has never married, has also been in the news over the years, including for allegedly assaulting former Miss World and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai with whom he had a long relationship. – AFP