Salman exempted from personal appearance

The Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate court on Thursday granted Bollywood actor Salman Khan an exemption from appearing before the court. Khan, who is facing trial in a 2002 hit and run case, was granted exemption on the ground that it was his birthday on Thursday and therefore a crowd would gather outside the court which could lead to law and order situation.

The court has adjourned the matter till January 30 when Khan has been directed to remain present before the court.

The summon was issued on Wednesday after social activist Santosh Daundkar moved an application before the court claiming that the Bandra police had furnished false evidence in the case and was 'hand-in-glove' with the accused. Daundkar, represented by advocate and former bureaucrat Abha Singh, has claimed in the application that the case has been dragged for over a decade now because the Bandra police failed to issue summons to the witnesses.

The case dates back to September 28, 2002, when Khan had allegedly driven his Land Cruiser onto American Express Bakery on Hill Road, killing one and injuring four sleeping on the pavement outside the shop.

Citing examples from the daily updates maintained by the court, Singh claimed that as many as 39 summons were to be issued to the witnesses, but the police failed to serve summons in 24 instances. "Twelve of them remained absent and two refused to accept summons," Singh claimed.

Khan is booked under sections 304 A of the IPC (rash and negligent driving), 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing minor injuries), 338 (causing major injuries) and 427 (negligence). The criminal case was registered against Khan on the basis of his bodyguard Ravindra Patil's statement. Patil had first claimed that Salman was driving rashly. Later he changed his statement saying Khan was under the influence of alcohol when the incident occurred.

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