MUMBAI (Reuters) - A Mumbai court charged Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Monday with culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a decade-old hit-and-run, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The actor was exempted from appearing in court for the trial that is set to begin on August 19.
“He was required to stay till framing of charges and if he is needed, his lawyer will be informed and he will be summoned at the next date,” prosecution lawyer Abha Singh told reporters.
The 47-year-old actor is accused of running his SUV on the pavement near a bakery in the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four others. Khan has pleaded not guilty.
He was earlier being tried on the lesser charge of death by negligence which carries a maximum prison term of two years.
Khan is arguably Bollywood’s most successful actor in recent years, with five of his films making more than a billion rupees in domestic ticket sales.
This is not the first time an Indian movie star faces time in prison.
Khan spent nearly a week in prison in 2007 for shooting an endangered gazelle during a Rajasthan hunting trip in 1998. He is also out on bail for killing protected antelopes.
Actor Sanjay Dutt returned to prison in May to serve the remainder of a five-year sentence for firearms offences during the Mumbai bombings 20 years ago.
Shiney Ahuja, another Bollywood actor, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 for raping his maid. He is out on bail.
Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Tony Tharakan