In a major relief to actor Salman Khan the Bombay High Court on Friday May 08, 2015 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 session 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 interview and went purely on the basis of Ravindra Patil's statement despite him 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, "The applicant Salman Khan is not likely to abscond during the pendency of appeal. Even on the basis that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that he was driving the vehicle in question certainly a number of arguable points have been raised which need consideration.''
The order also said, "Among the issues is whether the offence amounts to section 304-II of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Normally in such cases the state does not oppose suspension of sentence during pendency of appeal in cases of accused who were on bail during trial.''
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 license 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.
When the judge asked the actor if he wanted to say something he remained silent. At 5 pm he was still sitting in the dock at the session court when the Bombay High Court offered an interim silver lining and staved off his surrender arrest and custody till Friday.
At 7:05 pm on Wednesday the actor had finally left court for his Bandra home with his family in tow after his lawyer furnished the order from the HC. The actor was also fined a total of Rs 29000 but was told not to pay any more compensation.