Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was sentenced by a sessions court to five years’ rigorous imprisonment on Wednesday in the 2002 hit-and-run case, but he swiftly moved the Bombay High Court which granted him interim bail till May 8 to hear his appeal against conviction.
Justice Abhay Thipsay granted interim bail to the actor after observing that the accused had not been given a copy of the conviction order by the sessions court.
“The urgency in the matter is that the appellant (Salman) who was on bail throughout the trial is likely to be taken into custody today. However, the copy of the order has not been delivered yet,” Justice Thipsay observed.
The Judge said, in all fairness and in the interest of justice, it would be proper to protect Salman Khan for the time till a copy of the order is furnished to him.
“The order could have been pronounced when the copy was ready. Why was the order pronounced today? It should not have been delivered if the copy is not ready,” Justice Thipsay said.
The judge also directed the actor to execute a fresh bond before the trial court today itself.
Appearing for the actor, senior counsel Harish Salve argued that Salman should be granted bail till he gets copy of the order.
Opposing his plea, government pleader Sandeep Shinde said the High Court should not entertain the actor’s plea without a copy of the conviction order. He said the accused had not enclosed the copy of the order in his appeal as required under law.
Earlier during the day, Sessions Judge D W Deshpande sentenced Salman to five years’ rigorous imprisonment holding him guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder section (304 IPC) and other penal laws.
The 49-year-old actor was accused of ramming his Land Toyota Cruiser into a roadside bakery shop, killing one person and injuring four others sleeping outside. He was also found guilty of driving without licence, for which he received two months jail term, and driving under influence of liquor.
The actor had tears in his eyes when the Judge delivered the verdict.
“All charges have been proved against you…What you have to say? the Judge asked Salman who was in the dock.
“I hold that you were driving the vehicle. You were intoxicated. I also do not agree with your plea that the person who had died had received fatal injuries after a crane dropped the car on the persons underneath while removing it,” the judge said, rejecting the defence’s claim that the actor’s driver Ashok Singh was at the wheel when the accident took place.
Salman, attired in a white shirt and light blue denim jeans, said, “I was not driving the car…But I respect your decision and accept it. My lawyer will speak on my behalf.”