Bollywood actor Salman Khan had knowledge that his act of rash driving would result in death or injuries to people, a Magistrate observed while charging him with a more serious offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a decade-old hit-and-run case.
Salman Khan was warned by his police bodyguard Ravindra Patil not to drive at a speed of 90 to 100 km per hour as there was a turning ahead or else the vehicle would meet with accident but he did not pay heed to his advice, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate VS Patil noted last week in his order, a copy of which was made available today.
Salman's lawyer Dipesh Mehta said that the actor would challenge the order, given on a Maharashtra Government plea, in the Bombay High Court soon. On the night of September 28, 2002, Salman had allegedly rammed his Toyota Land Cruiser into a roadside bakery at suburban Bandra, killing one person and injuring four others who were sleeping on the pavement.
The 47-year-old was earlier charged under IPC Section 304 A (rash and negligent driving) which attracts two years' punishment and is tried by a Magistrate. Now he has been charged under IPC Section 304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), for which maximum jail term is 10 years.
The Magistrate, in his order on January 31, said the actor was under the influence of liquor, according to reports of pathological tests. The court disagreed with Salman's argument that he had no knowledge that there would be an accident and people would die if he drove at a fast speed. On the contrary, the actor had knowledge about this because he stays in the vicinity and knows the topography of the place, the Magistrate noted.
The Magistrate rejected Salman's contention that at the relevant time it was dark and the accident was not intentional but an act of God. He reiterated the actor had knowledge that he would meet with accident if he drove at high speed because he was warned by the police bodyguard who was sitting next to him in the ill-fated car.