Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan heaved a huge sigh of relief and broke down after the Bombay High Court today acquitted him in the 2002 hit-and-run case, overturning the verdict of the trial court sentencing him to five years imprisonment.
"The appeal filed by Salman Salim Khan is allowed. He is acquitted of all charges against him. His conviction and sentence stand quashed," said Justice A R Joshi, pronouncing the judgement.
Hearing this, Khan, attired in a black and white checkered shirt and jeans, lowered his head, sighed, and then looked up again at the judge from the witness box.
After pronouncing the verdict, Justice Joshi left the court following which Salman came out of the witness box and mingled with his family and lawyers.
As his lawyers scrambled around to finish the legal formalities, Khan was seen reclining against the wall and humming a song. Overcome with emotions, he broke down, following which Shera, the actor's bodyguard for many years, walked up to Salman and asked him to turn his face to the wall so people do not see him cry.
His sister Alvira, who could not stop smiling, flashed a thumbs up sign at the reporters.
Earlier, the 49-year-old arrived at the High Court at 1.30 pm following a direction from Justice Joshi to the actor's lawyers asking him to remain present in the court at least for the operative part of the order.
Salman walked into the packed courtroom with sister Alvira Khan Agnihotri, brother-in-law Aayush Sharma and Shera. The actor was shooting in Karjat and had to leave midway.
He later thanked his lawyers, including senior counsel Amit Desai.
Desai later said, "This is a victory not just for Salman, but also us. It is satisfying as an advocate when the court appreciates your arguments and accepts it."