In a major relief to actor Salman Khan, the Bombay High Court, on Friday, admitted his appeal and granted bail to the actor.
Khan had challenged his conviction and sentencing to five years rigorous imprisonment in the 2002 hit-and-run case that claimed one life and injured four others. Salman was ordered to surrender forthwith. He will now surrender before the sessions court today. The HC has directed the actor to execute a fresh bail bond of Rs 30000.
The court will now hear the matter on June 15, 2015 for further directions regarding the hearing of the appeal. But the court said that Salman will have to take permission from the court before travelling abroad.
Justice Abhay Thipsay passed the order. The HC accepted his counsel Amit Desai’s plea that pending the appeal hearing, bail ought to be continued since he has been on bail for the last 13 years and not misused his liberty. The judge said that this is not a case where once an appeal is admitted, it is not proper to keep him in custody.
Desai argued that right from the start, in 2002, the police were aware that Ashok Singh was Salman’s driver and that there were four persons in the car. Desai said the IO should be questioned as to why he did not take Singh’s statement despite interrogating him on October 1 in connection with the case. The trial court discarded a newspaper interveiw and went purely on the basis of Ravindra Patil’s statement despite he being a reluctant witness in court.
The judge, in his order after a lengthy hearing, said, “Salman was on bail all throughout the trial. Even after enhanced charges were added under section 304-II of the IPC of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, his liberty was not disturbed.”
The judge said, “This is not a case where during pendency of appeal the convict should be kept in detention. This application is allowed.”
The court said, “Pending hearing and disposal of appeal Salman be released on bail for a sum of Rs 30000.”
A sessions court, on Wednesday, found actor Salman Khan guilty under the stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder after he rammed into a bakery killing one and injuring four while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. Judge DW Deshpande pronounced the conviction as a stoic Khan, dressed in a white shirt and denims, stood in the dock. “You were driving the car, without a licence and you were under the influence of alcohol. All charges have been proved against you,” the judge told the actor softly in English as the actor suddenly became pensive.