| Salman Khan surrenders to police in Mumbai. (AFP)
Mumbai, Sept. 28: Bollywood woke up to a day of shame when Salman Khan ran away after crushing a pavement-dweller to death under his car and grievously injuring four.
Salman surrendered at 11 am, eight hours after he rammed his Toyota Land Cruiser into a Bandra bakery, and was booked under the Indian Penal Code for causing death through negligent driving. He was released on bail after furnishing a bond of Rs 950.
The surrender came after Rajindra Patil, a Mumbai police constable assigned as Salman’s bodyguard following underworld threats to the actor, filed a complaint against him at Bandra police station. Patil was in the car at the time of the accident, along with Salman’s friend Kamaal Khan and his personal bodyguard.
Twenty-two-year-old Abdul Rauf Sheikh, one of the injured, said in his testimony that he was sleeping on the pavement outside A1 Bakery when the car drove over them. “I stumbled away and clearly saw Salman Khan. I recognised him. Nuru was sleeping next to me but he died almost immediately.”
Sheikh said Salman made no attempt to help the injured. Instead, the celluloid hero fled.
The dead has been identified as Noorullah Khan, who has an old mother to support.
Patil said in his complaint that Salman was heavily under the influence of alcohol as he took the wheel. He had been partying through the night at Enigma and after leaving the pub at 2.30 am, had narrowly missed crashing into an electric pole.
The actor has denied that he was either drunk or driving. Ten hours after the incident, Salman was taken to JJ Hospital for a test to check the level of alcohol in his bloodstream. The results will be available on Monday.
Involved in a similar hit-and-run case two years ago, actor Puru Rajkumar, son of late Bollywood star Raj Kumar, had killed two persons. The case was settled out of court.
Twenty-year-old Naimed Sheikh, another injured, said they will be “thinking” about lodging a case against the actor only after going through the “legal angles”.
Salman is infamous for his regular brushes with the law. He is undergoing trial in a 1998 case for shooting black bucks, an endangered species, in Rajasthan.
The actor has been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate over Fera violations. He is also being investigated by the Mumbai police for his alleged links with the mafia.
Salman was in the news recently after he barged into the sets of an Aishwarya Rai-starrer in Pune and bitterly quarrelled with the actress. He was also reported to have abused and manhandled Rai’s co-star Shah Rukh Khan and director Aziz Mirza when they tried to intervene.
He has in the past banged his car into Rai’s Brook Hill apartment and kept the neighbours awake with his drunken protests for six hours.
On January 2, he gatecrashed into the sets of Rohan Sippy’s Kuch Na Kaho and abused the actress because he had heard she was “involved” with Abhishek Bachchan.
Aishwarya has got herself a bodyguard and is reported to have said she did not feel safe following her break-up with Salman last year. Salman’s fights with Subhash Ghai and Sabeer Bhatia have also been widely reported.