Salman Khan verdict in hit-and-run case: A blow by blow account from the courtroom

Arun George

May 07, 2015 14:05:47 IST

Thirteen years after the trial began in the Salman Khan hit-and-run case in which one person was killed, a sessions court found him guilty and sentenced him to five years of rigorous imprisonment. Here’s how a trial that took over a decade to complete finally ended:

10: 40 am: Salman Khan arrives in court

His bodyguards are wheezing after having run up four floors to the courtroom of Judge DW Deshpande. The actor doesn’t look worse for the wear and walks towards the court only to be told to wait since the judge is not in yet. The media and lawyers are present in large numbers with every seat taken and almost every space to stand also taken up.
Former Congress MLA Baba Siddiqui sits on the second row of the seats meant for the public while brothers Arbaaz and Sohail sit a row behind. All, like Salman, are dressed in white shirts.

11:00 am: Salman Khan enters court

Salman Khan is brought into the courtroom and a path has to be made between the scrum of reporters of lawyers and reporters to allow him to walk to the witness box. Judge Deshpande also enters the court and waits till the actor is standing in the witness box
Sisters Alvira and Arpita enter the court just before proceedings begin and stand near defence lawyer Shrikant Shivde.

Salman Khan verdict in hit-and-run case: A blow by blow account from the courtroom

Salman Khan leaving for the court. PTI.

11:15 am: Judge tells Salman he’s been found guilty of all the charges against him

In what seemed like a casual conversation, Judge Deshpande quietly informs Salman Khan that he’s been found guilty of all the sections that he’s been charged with. He also tells him that he faces a maximum punishment of 10 years rigorous imprisonment and asks him if he wants to say anything. Salman Khan replies but it’s inaudible. Reporters run out to break the news.

11:20: Salman’s lawyer begins arguments over sentence

Salman’s lawyer Shivade argues that the actor was present at the site of the accident for considerable time after the incident and had left only after he perceived there might be a threat to his life. He also argued that the trial hadn’t been delayed due to his client but due to the fact that the prosecution had attempted to slap him with the charge of culpable homicide.

Shivade argued that Salman didn’t know anyone had died in the incident and it was physically impossible for him to aid the injured trapped under the car and therefore left the spot. He argued that his client had been engaged in social work for years. He pointed out that in the Nanda hit-and-run case there had been more deaths but the sentence was less and that in this case “there were not even 10% of the number of deaths in that case”.
He pointed to the fact that the Supreme Court had not sentenced others accused in similar hit and run cases to over 3 years in jail and that his client had already deposited a compensation of Rs 90 lakh for the victims.

Around 11:45 am: Argument breaks out between lawyers, journalists and police

A throng of journalists and lawyers want to enter the court but are being prevented from doing so by the police at the gates. The argument between the two groups has been running in the background of the defence lawyer’s argument but it gets louder with even the judge unable to hear him. The judge has had enough and orders those making noise to be sent out.

11:47 am: What will happen to all the good work Salman’s doing, asks his lawyer

Shivade argues that most people undertake community service under directions from the court but his client has done so voluntarily for several years now. He points to the Being Human trust, heart surgeries for kids and various other things the actor has done in the past.

11:50 am: Salman’s lawyer gives medical certificate, actor says no

Shivade argues that his client suffers from a form of neuralgia and presents a medical certificate which specifies the condition. Salman who has been standing silently so far frowns and begins shaking his head vigorously. He does it once then he does it again. His lawyer gets the hint that it’s directed at him and doesn’t present the certificate.

11:52 am: Social work will be affected if jailed, says lawyer

“I (Salman) have donated Rs 42 crore in five years, if sentenced that will be affected,” Shivade said.
He pointed out his client had been indulging in community service since 2007 and that if he doesn’t work he “won’t be able to donate money”.
He also disagrees with the prosecution that the actor should face a greater sentence because he’s a public figure. “All convicts are convicts, they cannot be classified,” he argued, adding that the court wasn’t a ramp for the prosecution to showcase the sentencing of a person.
“He has suffered the trial as an ordinary citizen and sentencing should also be done as a regular citizen…Community service is in my blood which I have been doing since 2007,” he said concluding his arguments.

12:05 pm: Prosecution says he should suffer exemplary punishment

Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat says Salman Khan should face a exemplary punishment so that “all should know are repercussions of wrong acts”.
He also said that the accident itself wasn’t an act of God and the fact that more people weren’t killed in the accident was the real act of God. “There should be an element of deterrence to give a lesson to society,” he said.
“This is a proper case where deterrent and exemplary punishment is necessary,” he said.
“In future no one should do something similar,” he said to end his argument.

12:20 Court adjourns briefly

Judge Deshpande speaks as softly as he did before to tell those assembled that he’ll give the verdict by 1:10 and leaves. Journalists scramble to send messages to their offices. Salman talks to his sisters who join him at the witness box. Baba Siddiqui joins them. Salman also stares out of the window. Some journalists spot people trying to see the actor from adjoining buildings.

1:00 pm: Lights and fans go out in the courtroom

A collective sigh of anguish as power goes out in the courtroom. Salman Khan and every one else is sweating now.

1:20 pm: Judge sentences Salman

Judge Deshpande returns and softly tells Salman Khan that he’s been sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He says he has been sentenced under the other sections as well but they are lesser and will run concurrently. The actor nods. The judge also imposes a cost of Rs 10,000 on another petitioner in the case for wasting the court’s time and says it won’t consider imposing perjury charges on the actor’s driver for claiming he was behind the wheel.

The judge leaves. Salman sits down and is surrounded by his family. His lawyers plan to approach the high court in a last ditch attempt at bail but have to wait for an order copy. Salman sits in a chair as his lawyers wait for the order copy. After the order copy is received they leave for the high court while the actor waits on.

Updated Date: May 07, 2015 14:06:34 IST