Hit-and-run case: Salman to face trial afresh

Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan will face a fresh trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case after a sessions court today dismissed his petition challenging a metropolitan court order invoking the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
 
The actor, who had earlier been tried for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence (Section 304 A of IPC), which provides for a maximum punishment of two years in jail, will now stand trial under a harsher law pertaining to culpable homicide that could attract imprisonment upto ten years.
 
Pronouncing the verdict, sessions judge U B Hejib ruled that the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against the 47-year-old actor.
 
The judge fixed July 19 for commencement of fresh trial.
 
Salman's counsel Ashok Mundargi said they would appeal against the verdict in the High Court.
 
The trial in the sessions court would start afresh after the sessions court upheld the ruling of the Bandra metropolitan court which had given a twist to the case by bringing forth the more serious charge of culpable homicide midway through the trial proceedings after examining 17 witnesses.
 
Since cases related to culpable homicide not amounting to murder are triable by a sessions court, the magistrate had halted the trial and transferred the case to the sessions court. Salman had appealed against the Metropolitan court's order.
 
Advancing his argument against invoking the grave charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (section 304 part II IPC), his counsel Mundargi pleaded the magistrate's order was "erroneous, bad in law and contrary to evidence on record." 
 
The Magistrate, he contended, had failed to appreciate that the actor had neither the intention to kill people nor the knowledge that his rash and negligent driving would kill a person and cause injury to four others.