On Friday morning, Bollywood actor John Abraham was set to spend 15 days in prison, but later in the day, his appeal to commute the sentence of 15-day imprisonment to fine in a six-year-old case of rash and negligent driving was heard in Bombay high court, which ruled in his favour.
Justice RC Chavan granted Abraham bail on a cash deposit of Rs 20,000. The judge said he has granted relief to the actor considering that the two victims had sustained minor injuries and that the actor had been on bail throughout the trial.
On the night of April 8, 2006, the actor was allegedly speeding on his Yamaha bike when he dashed into a bicycle on Carter Road. The two men on the cycle — Shyam Kasabe and Tanmay Mazi — as well as the actor sustained injuries in the incident, and both vehicles were damaged badly.
Acting on a complaint filed by Mazi, the Khar police registered a First Information Report against Abraham.
More than four years later, on October 14, 2010, a metropolitan magistrate’s court held the actor guilty under section 279 (rash driving on a public road) and section 337 (causing hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.
The magistrate sentenced him to simple imprisonment of 15 days, a fine of Rs 1,000 for rash driving and another Rs 500 for causing injuries.
Abraham appealed against the ruling before a sessions court, contending that there was no evidence suggesting that the alleged accident was the result of his bike dashing against the bicycle.
On Friday morning, additional sessions judge NV Nhavkar dismissed the actor’s appeal saying that there was no reason to interfere with the lower court’s order. Abraham’s lawyer, Abad Ponda, sought leniency for the actor, urging the court to commute the term of simple imprisonment into fine. He also offered to pay adequate compensation to both the victims.
The sessions court, however, discarded this plea and also declined to grant him a few days’ time to surrender. Instead, it directed the police to take the actor into custody for serving the prison term. The 39-year-old actor then approached the Bombay high court. At the hearing, Ponda pointed out that one of the victims had stated in his evidence that he did not know how the accident took place and how they got injured.