MUMBAI: A court in Mumbai has ruled that Bollywood star Salman Khan will be tried for culpable homicide over a 2002 hit-and-run case which could land him behind bars for 10 years, his lawyer said on Friday.
If convicted he faces up to 10 years in jail. Deepesh Mehta, Khan's lawyer, says a magistrate accepted an appeal by state government prosecutors that he should be charged with homicide instead of causing death by negligence, which carries a maximum of two years in jail. “We will however challenge this decision in the High Court,” Mehta told AFP.
One man was killed and another three were injured when Khan allegedly rammed his car into a group of homeless people sleeping on a Bombay sidewalk in September 2002.
Khan was being tried under a lesser charge of rash and negligent driving but prosecutors had filed an application for the charges to be upgraded, which the court upheld. The new offences carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison.
“The court said there was enough evidence to show the act was not incidental and hence the case should be tried under a more serious section,” the Times of India reported on Friday, quoting another of Khan's lawyers Kaushal Thakkar.
In view of the graver charges against him, the actor would be required to appear before the sessions court where the trial is expected to start Feb 11.
The trial in the case started before the Bandra Magistrate Court in 2006.
Khan is one of Bollywood's biggest stars and has starred in more than 80 Hindi films, he is often known as the ‘bad boy’ of Bollywood. He has been a controversial figure since he first broke into Bollywood in the late 1980s.
In 1998, he spent more than a week in prison for killing endangered Indian gazelles in the northern state of Rajasthan.