In a surprise twist, Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been granted a brief reprieve, with the judge declaring in court that he has been transferred and won’t be able to hear the case today.
The case will now be heard by another court, for which Khan has been granted exemption from attending, unless summoned.
Meanwhile, charges have been framed against the actor for culpable homicide, not amounting to murder. The 47-year-old has plead not guilty.
If found guilty, he can face up to years behind bars.
While details are still emerging, today was a big day for the actor, whose 2002 hit and run case was being heard today, with the a decision on the framing of charges.
Earlier, a Mumbai sessions court had rejected Khan’s plea against culpable homicide.
Critics of the superstar took to Twitter minutes after news broke, questioning the “convenient” transfer orders of the judge, along with suspecting something “fishy” was going on.
OT asked: “Why a last-minute change? Will judiciary ensure a fair trail and commensurate ruling in Salman Khan case?”
SG wrote: “There is something fishier than the fishy in the Salman Khan hit and run case. Why delaying again and again?”
Professor NK Pandey wrote: “Travesty of justice; change of judge in Fodder scam when judgement due; judge transferred when charge sheet two be filed in Salman Khan hit and run case.”
Achint Sharma said: “2002 Hit-and-run case: eyewitness already dead, now judge is transferred as Salman Khan's hearing goes into limbo. This is ridiculous.”
Sneha Dixit wrote: “Salman Khan must have asked [Congress party politico] Baba Siddiqui to help him. So result is before us. Judge transferred.”
With the exemption on appearance, Khan is now expected to fly to the UK later this month to commence shooting for his film 'Kick'.