The trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan did not begin today as the witnesses did not appear in the sessions court.
The first three witnesses were slated to be examined today by the prosecution. One of them is the owner of a laundry in suburban Bandra, where the actor had run over his vehicle on people sleeping on the footpath, while the other two are panch witnesses. Prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar told the court that the laundry owner could not appear as he had been paralysed. One of the panch witnesses was not traceable, while the other had gone to Bangalore.
The judge D W Deshpande adjourned the matter to April 8 when the prosecution would examine another set of witnesses, who were injured in the mishap. Salman also did not come to the court as he has secured permanent exemption from appearance. His lawyer Srikant Shivade was, however, present. Sessions judge D W Deshpande had ordered a fresh trial in this case.
Although the prosecution has given 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 proceedings.
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.