A Mumbai court, conducting the trial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan, on Friday directed the media to report only facts and refrain from discussing merits and demerits of the case.
Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande’s directive came following a plea made by the actor seeking a ban on the media during the recording of his statement in the case on Friday.
“You all are here… Please report facts only… What is happening in the court. Do not discuss merits and demerits of the statements made in the court… Leave the job of judgment to me,” the judge said.
He also directed the media to refrain from opinionating in the matter and stick to reporting of the actual proceedings in the court.
Khan’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade brought to the court’s notice that often there are panel discussion on the issue on TV channels where people give their opinions.
Shivade said: “This affects the case as often merits and demerits are also discussed.”
The judge asked the media not to conduct such panel discussion till the trial is over and also refrain from reporting the recording of Khan’s statement till it is fully completed.
“Do not give your opinions… if this witness has said this, this could happen, if that witness has said that, then that could happen… Do not do this… The court would decide,” the judge said.
At around 11 a.m. on Friday, Khan reached the court to record his statement on the sequence of events pertaining to the case, which left one person dead and four others injured after his rashly driven vehicle crashed into them.
The actor was ordered to personally appear before the judge to record his statement under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, considered a crucial stage in the retrial of the case before the final arguments begin.
The development on Friday follows the conclusion of arguments by prosecutor Pradeep Gharat earlier this week.
On Wednesday, judge Deshpande rejected a plea by Khan’s lawyer seeking adjournment of the recording of the statement by three weeks as the actor is also required to appear in a Jodhpur court in a case relating to possessing arms and shooting an endangered blackbuck.
In the early hours of September 28, 2002, Khan’s white Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into the American Express Bakery in suburban Bandra, close to his sea-front home in Galaxy Apartments.
One pavement dweller sleeping outside the bakery was killed and four others were injured, leading to Khan’s arrest by Bandra Police later that morning.
The actor is facing charges under IPC Section 304(II) — culpable homicide not amounting to murder which attracts a 10-year jail sentence; Sec. 279 (rash driving); Sec. 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life of others); Sec. 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life); Sec. 427 (mischief causing damage); and under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949. (IANS)