news Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - 05:30
Twelve years after Mumbai pavement dweller Nurullah Mehboob Sharif lost his life after being run over by actor Salman Khan's car, a Mumbai Sessions court has convicted Salman Khan in the case and sentenced him to five years jail. Additional sessions judge D.W. Deshpande said that it was not probable that Salman Khan's driver Ashok Singh was driving the car. Salman Khan has been convicted of all the charges against him. The judge has said there is enough evidence that Salman Khan was driving the car and was under the influence of alcohol. Right from Tuesday evening, media, especially TV channels, had been building up a crescendo about the details of the trial, heavily interspersed with speculation about what was likely to happen.   The actor has been convicted of killing one person and injuring four pavement-dwellers in Mumbai when he ran them over with his SUV on the night of September 28, 2002, under the influence of alcohol. Sharif succumbed to his injuries and the injured were Munna Malai Khan, Kalim Mohammed Pathan, Abdullah Rauf Shaikh and Muslim Sheikh. Defence Witness Ashok Singh The only defence witness in the case, Ashok Singh told the court in March 2015 that he was driving when the incident took place and that the tyre of the vehicle had burst, causing him to lose control. Singh told the court that he had narrated the entire incident to the police but was asked to wait at the station. Singh has also said that he suspected foul play and told Khan about it.  In April, however, Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat had said that Singh could be held liable for perjury, for lying to the court for 12 years. He said: “He had been thinking for 12 years and did not go to an advocate to understand? Is this natural conduct?” Gharat also called Singh a "self-condemned liar". Gharat also pointed out that Singh had been employed by Salim Khan, Khan’s father, since 1990, and said that it implausible that the family continued to employ him even when Khan continued to faced trial for so many years. “Can it be believed that the very driver who worked with the family sat with his mouth shut even as Salman Khan kept facing trouble? Can it be accepted that the accused also kept silent and did not ask the driver to come forward?” Gharat asked.  History of the case Salman was charged under Sections 304 (2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder); 279 (rash and negligent driving) which stipulates six months jail; 337 and 338 (causing hurt by act endangering life and causing grievous hurt) with punishment up to two years; 427 (mischief causing damage to property) with maximum punishment of upto two years. Other charges include Sections 34 (a), (b) read with 181 (driving vehicle in contravention of rules) and 185 (driving at great speed after consuming alcohol with punishment of cancellation of driving license of the Motor Vehicle Act; and sections of the Bombay Prohibition Act dealing with diving under influence of alcohol which attract maximum six months in jail. The prosecution said that Khan was driving the vehicle in an inebriated state and that he lost control of the vehicle and ran over the men who were sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery. The prosecution had also argued that the actor fled the scene after the incident. In his defence, Salman’s lawyers had argued that his driver Ashok Singh was behind the wheel when the incident occurred and that he had been falsely implicated. Khan told the court that he was neither drunk nor driving at the time and that he was at the spot of the accident for 15 minutes after the incident had taken place. He also told the court that it was Singh who was driving the vehicle.
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