Actor Salman Khan will face trial for culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a decade-old hit-and-run case. A Mumbai sessions court framed charges against the popular Bollywood actor today.
The 47-year-old, who pleaded not guilty this morning, could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
The trial is expected to be a long process and the busy actor has been exempted from appearing in court for each hearing. The case will now be heard by a different judge, the court announced today.
He was in court today, accompanied by his sisters Arpita and Alvira. In dark grey shirt and blue trouser, Mr Khan appeared serious throughout the hearing.
Eleven years ago, in September 2002, Mr Khan was allegedly driving a Toyota Land Cruiser that ran over a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra. One person was killed and four others were injured in the accident.
The case has gone from court to court with arguments centred around whether Mr Khan was driving the car that day or not. The Mumbai police say they have enough evidence, a claim accepted by the sessions court, which had last month rejected Mr Khan's appeal against charging him with "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" or Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code, setting the stage for framing charges.
He has also been charged today under sections 279 (for rash and negligent driving), and 337 and 338 (causing grievous hurt).
Mr Khan had earlier been charged with a lesser offence of causing death by rash and negligent driving, which would have carried a maximum punishment of only two years in jail.
In 1998, Salman Khan spent three days in prison for killing a black buck, an endangered species of deer, in Rajasthan.
The actor has starred in many Bollywood blockbusters for two decades and is considered one of the biggest commercial draws at the box office.