Crucial ruling in Salman Khan case Wednesday

Mumbai, July 24 (IANS) A Mumbai sessions court is expected to pronounce its crucial verdict in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan here Wednesday.

The court is likely to give its decision on conducting a fresh trial in the case under the stringent Indian Penal Code Section 304 (III) against Salman Khan.

If found guilty under the charge - which pertains to culpable homicide not amounting to murder - Salman Khan could face ten years in prison.

Earlier, Salman Khan had been tried by a metropolitan magistrate under the less severe charges of rash and negligent driving, which stipulated a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

However, the metropolitan magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses in the case, had invoked the more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the actor.

The court has two options before it: conduct a fresh trial or continue the existing case with the additional stringent charges.

On July 19, the court had adjourned hearing the matter till July 24.

During the last hearing, Salman Khan was sitting in the visitors' area, but was summoned to stand in the box meant for accused.

One person was killed and four others were injured when a Land Cruiser allegedly driven by Salman Khan in an inebriated state ran over a group of footpath dwellers in Mumbai's Bandra suburb in the early hours of September 28, 2002.

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