Salman Khan: Bollywood star charged with homicide

Salman Khan leaving court on 24 July 2013 Salman Khan appeared before the sessions court on Wednesday

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Bollywood star Salman Khan has been charged with culpable homicide by a court in the Indian city of Mumbai for a hit-and-run incident 10 years ago.

The actor pleaded not guilty - if convicted, he faces 10 years in prison. The trial will begin on 19 August.

In September 2002, he allegedly drove his car into a bakery in Mumbai, killing a man sleeping on the street.

So far, he has been tried for the lesser offence of "death caused by negligence".

Khan is one of Bollywood's biggest stars and has starred in more than 80 Hindi-language films, including Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun.

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Despite the setbacks for Salman Khan, his fan base remains loyal and the hits have kept coming. ”

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Late on the night of 28 September 2002, Khan's Toyota Land Cruiser rammed into the American Express bakery in the Bandra area of Mumbai, authorities say.

The vehicle ran over five people sleeping on the streets, killing 38-year-old Noor Ullah Khan and seriously injuring three others. Another person received minor injuries.

Trial delays

On Wednesday, the actor appeared before the sessions court, dressed in a grey shirt and black trousers.

The judge exempted the actor from being present in court during the trial, although he will have to appear if asked to.

Khan was initially charged with culpable homicide. But he successfully challenged that charge in court and it was reduced to "causing death by negligence".

The trial finally began at the Bandra Magistrate Court in 2006.

The court heard several witnesses between 2006 and 2011 but in March 2011 the prosecution asked for the more serious charge to be reinstated.

In February this year, the court ruled that the actor could be tried for the more serious charge of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder".

Khan challenged the ruling in the Bombay High Court, which rejected his petition last month.

There have been several complaints about delays to the trial - the case has stretched on for more than a decade. Mumbai police deny causing deliberate delays.

Correspondents say it is not unusual in India for cases to go on for many years, even decades, and there have long been complaints about the laborious nature and slow pace of the country's judicial system.

Khan is a hugely popular and successful actor. He has often been described as a "bad boy" heart-throb.

In 2006, he was sentenced to five years in prison for hunting a protected deer, but he was released on bail after spending less than a week in jail.

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