Mumbai: In a relief to Bollywood actor Salman Khan, a Mumbai sessions court Thursday ordered a fresh trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case against him.
Sessions court judge D W Deshpande passed the order on a petition filed by the actor who had sought a fresh trial, seeking that the evidence adduced earlier before a magistrate be discarded as he was now facing a more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
In his order, Deshpande said all the witnesses would be examined and cross-examined again during the trial which would be put on fast-track mode.
The judge fixed December 23 for prosecution and defence to submit their lists of witnesses after which a date for fresh trial would be fixed.
Khan was earlier tried at a magisterial court which, 10 years after the incident, had held that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against the actor, who was facing trial for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence. Since culpable homicide cases are triable by a sessions court, he referred the case to it.
The sessions court had on July 24 framed charges against Khan for culpable homicide for which he could face a jail term up to 10 years, while the charge of rash and negligent driving entailed imprisonment for two years.
The actor had moved the sessions court on November 19 seeking a fresh trial in the case as he had not been given an opportunity in the magistrate's court to cross-examine witnesses vis-a-vis the new charge of culpable homicide.
Apart from section 304(2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), the Bollywood superstar has also been charged under sections 279 (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by an act), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 427 (causing damage or mischief to property) of the IPC, and provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Bombay Prohibition Act.
On September 28, 2002, a Toyota Lexus SUV, allegedly driven by him, had crushed a group of people sleeping on a pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra, killing one and injuring four.