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Court orders Salman Khan's trial in hit and run case
A court here Wednesday ordered a magistrate to begin the trial of Bollywood actor Salman Khan in a hit-and-run case that had left one person dead and four others injured two years ago.
Hearing a petition by the Maharashtra government, Principal Judge R.R. Vachha of the Sessions Court transferred the case from the court of Magistrate S.Y. Sishode to the court of Additional Chief Magistrate J.B. Pankhe in Bandra, where the incident had occurred.
The Maharashtra government's plea said: "Magistrate Sishode was unfit to conduct the trial of Salman Khan who is facing charges of killing one person and injuring four by ramming his vehicle into a bakery shop in suburban Bandra on Sept 28, 2002."
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R.D. Gate had earlier rejected this plea. The government had then appealed in the Sessions Court.
Dipesh Mehta, Salman Khan's lawyer, said: "The Maharashtra government had not raised the jurisdiction issue when charges were framed against his client on Oct 6, 2003, and also when the Supreme Court had directed Magistrate S.Y. Sishode to try him."
In its order on Dec 18, the apex court had asked the court "to go ahead with the case and decide during the course of trial whether the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was applicable to Salman Khan or not".
The government's prosecutor raised a technicality that "Magistrate Sishode had earlier recorded statements of three witnesses. This was not proper in law as under Section 164 (6) of Criminal Procedure Code, such a magistrate should refer the statements made to another magistrate who is conducting the trial".
On Oct 6, a magistrate framed 10 charges against Salman Khan. The actor pleaded not guilty to all the charges framed under the Indian Penal Code, the Motor Vehicles Act and Bombay Prohibition Act.
Earlier, the high court had quashed the charge of culpable homicide framed by the Sessions Court and referred the case to be tried by a Metropolitan Magistrate's court.
The Maharashtra government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the HC order.
Salman was arrested on Sept 28, 2002, after he ran his vehicle over people sleeping outside a bakery in suburban Bandra. One person was killed and four others were injured. He was later released on bail.