Court: 'Salman Khan was aware of his 'killing instincts'

Actor Salman Khan was aware that driving rashly on Mumbai's footpaths would result in death or injuries to people, a Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate has observed in his order enhancing the charge against the actor from causing death due to negligence to culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a 2002 hit-and-run case. In his order, the magistrate observed that the component "knowledge", a crucial aspect to prove culpable homicide, was there in the case.

"It is the matter of common knowledge or phenomenon of life in Mumbai that persons live on footpaths. Besides this, the accused was also aware of the fact that people were sleeping on the footpath where the incident occurred because he resides in same vicinity," magistrate Vasant Patil observed while rejecting the argument of Khan's laywer that the actor had no knowledge that there would be an accident and people would die if he drove fast.

The maximum penalty for causing death by negligence is three years. The sterner charge of culpable homicide can attract a sentence of 10 years under Section 304 (part II) of the Indian Penal Code.

In his order of January 30, Patil observed that Khan was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

On September 28, 2002, Khan's Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into a bakery in Bandra killing one and injuring four. The court relied upon the complainant and Khan's bodyguard Ravindra Patil's statement to reach its conclusion. Patil, who had claimed to have warned Khan against rash driving, succumbed to TB later.

The court observed that enough documentary evidence and circumstantial evidence has come on record, hence the case should be sent to sessions court for trial.

The court's order was based on an application by the prosecution on March 14, 2011 seeking enhancement of charges.

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