Bombay High Court on Thursday said Bollywood actor Salman Khan cannot be convicted in a 2002 hit-and-run case based on available evidence, overturning a lower court order. The actor was ordered to appear before the court as it pronounced the final order.
Khan was appealing against his conviction and the five-year sentence that was handed down in May, 12 years after the incident took place in Mumbai.
The actor — one of Indian cinema’s top stars with a recent string of blockbusters — was convicted of all charges by a sessions court in the 2002 case when Khan’s Toyota Land Cruiser had crashed into five men sleeping outside a bakery on Hill Road in Bandra in the early hours of September 28. One person was killed and four others were injured.
Later, the Bombay HC suspended the sentence after the actor appealed against his conviction. On Wednesday, the HC said the prosecution had failed to bring material on record to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Khan was driving the car in the incident.
The court also said the prosecution failed to convince the court that he was under the influence of alcohol, and called into question the validity of the blood samples taken from Khan. The court added that Ravindra Patil, who was Khan’s bodyguard when the incident happened, was a ‘wholly unreliable witness.’ Patil later died in 2007.