The Bandra metropolitan magistrate granted exemption to the 47-year-old actor, celebrating his birthday today, on an application made by his lawyer Dipesh Mehta on the ground that the Bombay High Court had already granted him permanent exemption.
The court was hearing a complaint against the actor and the police alleging that the trial was being delayed deliberately. The court had asked Salman to appear personally to answer the charges.
Khan today pleaded that he was not responsible for delaying the trial in hit-and-run case and sought dismissal of the complaint.
His lawyer argued that as the High Court had granted permanent exemption to the actor in the case the actor did not appear for trial and sought exemption.
However, the actor was ready to appear whenever the court would direct him to do so, Mehta told the court.
He also argued that the complaint filed against Salman was not maintainable under CrPC and the complainant had no locus standi in the matter.
Mehta said Salman was granted exemption from appearance in the case by the Bombay High Court on June 10, 2005, on merits considering facts and circumstances placed before it.
The Bollywood actor today pleaded that the complainant had falsely alleged that the trial was delayed because he had sought exemption from appearance.
The complainant, Santosh Daundkar, had alleged that the trial in the 2002 case, in which one person was killed and four others were injured when Khan's car rammed into a bakery at suburban Bandra, was delayed by four years because of actor's busy film schedule.
He also alleged that the actor had connived with police to delay the trial as wrong set of witnesses were produced.
The actor denied that between 2008 and 2010 no witnesses were examined, saying the prosecution had already examined more than 15 witnesses so far. He maintained if at all there was a delay in the trial it was not because of him.
The court has asked the police to file a reply and the matter has been adjourned till January 30.
Advocate Abha Singh, appearing for the complainant argued that police had favoured Salman by not examining witnesses in the case in the last five years. She also argued that Salman must appear in the case regularly.
On December 3, Bandra Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had, on Daundkar's complaint, issued summons to Khan and a police officer to appear today to answer charges of giving false information and producing wrong witnesses as a result of which trial had been delayed.
The complainant had alleged that on the basis of false information given by the police, a wrong set of doctors were examined in court during the trial. As these doctors were not concerned with the case, they were either discharged or were not examined, and as a result, the trial got delayed.
The complaint also urged the court to order an inquiry into the charges of deliberately giving false information as a result of which the trial was unnecessary delayed. It also said that giving false information to the court was an offence and this was done by the police at the behest of the actor.
The complaint further alleged that even after the court directed that correct medical officers concerned be produced as witnesses, the police once again submitted false information about the medical officers.
This was allegedly done to delay the trial so as to favour the actor, who earned pecuniary gains by giving hit films like "Dabangg", "Ready", "Bodyguard" and "Ek Tha Tiger" besides the "Big Boss" television show, the complaint alleged.
On September 28, 2002, Salman Khan's Toyota Land Cruiser had rammed into a bakery in suburban Bandra, killing one and injuring four others who were sleeping on a pavement.
The actor was booked on a charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. However, he said that it was merely an accident and he did not have any intention to kill anyone. The Bombay High Court had held that Section 304 part II of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was not applicable in the case and that the actor be tried under Section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code (rash and negligent driving) and other relevant sections.
The court had framed charges against the actor under section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code (rash and negligent driving), 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing minor injuries), 338 (causing major injuries) and 427 (negligence).
Earlier this year, the police had again sought that the actor be tried under more serious charge of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder'. The application is still pending.
The prosecution has examined 11 witnesses ever since the trial began in 2005. However, two witnesses, Ravindra Patil, his police bodyguard, and Ramasray Pandey who witnessed the incident, turned hostile.