Bollywood Star Jailed Over Hit-and-Run
Bollywood megastar, Salman Khan, has been given a five year jail sentence after being found guilty of a hit-and-run which killed a homeless man.
The 49-year-old was convicted of culpable homicide by a judge in India for the incident which occurred in 2002, a night in which he admitted he was heavily drinking.
Khan had been looking at a minimum of 10 years in jail.
The victim, Nurullah Mahboob Sharif, was sleeping on the pavement along with a few others, died on the spot.
Commenting on the result, Nurullah’s wife said it meant little to her. “”Our daily needs, a square meal, education for my children…it is a struggle. We have received no compensation. I have raised my children with great difficulty. An amount of Rs. 10 lakh was promised, but never came.”
During the trial, which began last year after several legal hold-ups, witnesses claimed Khan was at the wheel when his Toyota Land Cruiser mounted the pavement and ploughed into five homeless men as they slept. However, he blamed his driver for the crash.
In a statement, one labourer said: “Salman was so drunk he fell. He stood but he fell again and then he … ran away.”
Khan’s driver told the court in April that he was driving at the time, and the accident had been caused by a burst tyre.
However, a constable attached to the actor’s security detail contradicted the story, and insisted Khan had lost control while drunk and driving at speeds of about 55mph. That guard was not present during the trial because he died of tuberculosis in 2007.
Seen as an icon on the South-Asian country, Khan has been appearing in movies since the early 1980’s.
Production companies are set to lose an estimated £31 million for projects that the actor was due to star in. Most in the film trade argue that a grace period should be given if Salman has to go to jail after 48 hours.
“If Sanjay Dutt got a one-and-a-half-month grace period to complete his projects, the court should consider the same in case of Salman to safeguard Rajshri and Eros (distributors of Bajrangi Bhaijaan),” film exhibitor and distributor Akshay Rathi said.
He has been bailed until tomorrow (8 May 2015)