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In a jolt to Salman Khan, a sessions court today sentenced him to five years rigorous imprisonment in the 2002 hit-and-run case after which the actor was arrested. The Bollywood superstar's lawyers immediately moved the Bombay High Court for bail and a stay on his conviction. The application will be heard at 4 pm. Immediately after the sessions court judge D W Dedshpande handed down the punishment at 1.30 pm, the actor was taken into custody. Salman was given a copy of the judgement following which his lawyer quickly moved the High Court in appeal.
The 49-year-old actor was convicted of culpable homicide for ramming a roadside backery with his Toyota Land Cruiser and, in the process, killing one person and wounding four others sleeping on the pavement outside. He was also pronounced guilty of driving without a licence for which he received two months jail term. The actor was also found guilty of driving under the influence of liquor.
Salman, known for his macho onscreen avatar, was in tears when Judge Deshpande pronounced 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, however, insisted, "I was not driving the car...But I respect your decision and accept it. My lawyer will speak on my behalf."
While convicting Salman, the court drew parallels with Alistair Pereira and Sanjeev Nanda BMV cases. In a related development, the court rejected the plea of activist Santosh Daundkar seeking action against the police for perjury (giving false evidence under oath) for examining a wrong set of doctors in the trial, thereby delaying the process of justice. He had also sought action against the police for not examining a key witness--singer Kamaal Khan, who was in the vehicle at the time of mishap. Dismissing Daundkar's plea as "frivolous", the court imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the activist.
Salman's brothers Arbaaz and Sohail, sisters Alvira and Arpita stood beside him in the court. Former Congress MLA Baba Siddiqui, film producer Ramesh Taurani, Salman's secretary Reshma Shetty and private bodyguard Shera were also present.
The courtroom number 52 was packed with reporters, lawyers and policemen, while scores of his fans had gathered outside.

Bad boy to superstar

From being labelled as a 'bad boy' of Bollywood to the reigning superstar, Salman Khan's meteoric rise in the film industry has been equally turbulent and rewarding. The 49-year-old actor, who was today convicted by a Mumbai court on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, is the second big star from Mumbai film industry after Sanjay Dutt to get embroiled in a high-profile criminal case in recent years. Best known for his roles in films like 'Maine Pyar Kiya', Hum Aapke Hain Koun', 'Karan Arjun', 'Judwaa', 'Pyar Kiya to Darna Kiya' and 'Hum Saath Saath Hain' among others, Salman has totally reinvented himself in the last decade. Critics feel that people's perception about Bollywood's favourite pin-up boy has changed over the years. From being a bad boy, he is a person who is liked by every one, they say. Often in the news for his love-hate relationship with the media, Salman had his share of tiffs with the media when he got into a scuffle with photo journalists on the sets of 'Sanam Bewafa' in the 90s. Subsequently, few film magazines had banned him too. However, even his critics have been unanimous that Salman, who has been romantically involved with many film actresses, has a heart of gold. "He is the most obedient son and respectful even to his father's second wife Helen," according to a senior film journalist. "The year 2002-03 was a bad patch for the actor, who has mega blockbuster films like 'Maine Pyar Kiya', 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' and 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' to his credit. Over the years, he has changed a lot as a person and mellowed down," a journalist, who has interacted closely with Salman, said on condition of anonymity. The actor also received several awards in his film career. His second film 'Maine Pyar Kiya' (1989), in which he acted in a lead role, garnered him the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut. In 1999, Khan won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his extended guest appearance in 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' (1998). In 2011, he won the Screen Award for Best Actor for his performance in 'Dabangg'.
Immediately after his jail stints in the hit-and-run and black buck hunting cases, his film 'Tere Naam' opposite Bhumika Chawla became a hit. Salman is now careful about what work he does and not reckless like he was earlier, an industry insider said, adding that the 2007 film 'Wanted', two seasons of his TV show 'Dus Ka Dum', later another reality show 'Bigg Boss' and his NGO 'Being Human' brought a lot of positive changes in his personal image and professional career. "His focus is on earning money so that he can put it to use in 'Being Human'," said an industry source. The actor, who returned from Srinagar yesterday after wrapping up the shooting of 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', was present in the court when the verdict was pronounced by judge D W Deshpande. The shooting of his two under-production films 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', which stars Kareena Kapoor, and 'Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo' opposite Sonam Kapoor, is currently in the last schedule. An investment of about Rs 200 crore is riding on him with two under-production films and couple of endorsements. On the personal front, his father Salim Khan remains a guiding force in his life. Instead of his father launching his film career, Salman assisted Shashilal Nair on a film starring Jackie Shroff called 'Falak' before getting a break as an actor in 'Biwi Ho to Aisi'.


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