Actor Salman Khan hugs his mother before leaving for court (Press Trust of India photo)
Mumbai: Actor Salman Khan will not go to jail today. The Mumbai High Court has granted him interim bail for two days, after a Sessions Court sentenced him to five years in prison for culpable homicide in a 2002 hit and run case.
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This morning the Mumbai trial court found the actor guilty of drunkenly driving his SUV over homeless men sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai 13 years ago. While one man had died, four were injured. (Track LIVE updates)
After he was sentenced, Salman Khan's lawyers appealed for bail in the Bombay High Court where senior lawyer Harish Salve argued his case. The actor had to seek bail from the High Court because he has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.
If he had not got bail today, Salman Khan would have been arrested and taken to Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail from court, where he was awaiting word from the High Court.
When the judge asked the actor what he had to say, Salman Khan denied the charges against him and said he was not driving the car, reports Press Trust of India.
The judge said it was "not probable" that Salman's driver Ashok Singh was driving the car. The actor said during the trial that Ashok Singh was driving when his Toyota Land Cruiser crashed into the five men sleeping outside a bakery in Bandra West on September 28, 2002.
Last month, Ashok Singh, the sole defence witness, took the stand and said he was driving and crashed the car after the front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult. Ashok Singh drove Salman to court today.
Pleading for a sentence of no more than three years, Salman's lawyers today talked of his charitable work through his NGO, Being Human and told the court, "You can't punish him more because he is an actor." The prosecution had argued for the maximum sentence of 10 years.
Salman Khan has starred in more than 100 films and television shows and is one of Bollywood's busiest actors. He is said to have Rs 200 crore riding on him with seven films in the pipeline, two under production. He also endorses 10 brands.