Salman Khan
Salman Khan.Reuters

A Sessions Court in Mumbai has deferred the hearing of Bollywood actor Salman Khan, in connection with the 2002 hit-and-run case, to 8 April.

The "Dabangg" star who was taking treatment in the United States for trigeminal neuralgia returned to India on Saturday. He was supposed to arrive before a Sessions Court on Monday (25 March), but did not appear citing that he did not receive the summons from the court.On Monday, the court postponed the hearing in the case to 8 April.

On 28 September, 2002, the actor's Land Cruiser ran over five people who were sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery on Pali Hill Road in Bandra. A 38-year-old man was killed and four others were injured in the incident.

Salman was earlier tried for rash and negligent driving. But the magistrate investigated 17 witnesses and charged the actor for "culpable homicide not amounting to murder." Following more serious charges filed against the actor, the case was transferred from the Bandra Magistrate's court to the Sessions court.

Last month, the actor had filed a revised petition pleading for the serious charges to be dropped. He was asked to appear before the Sessions court on 11 March for the hearing, but he did not go to court as the case was not assigned to any judge. 

According to sources, a fresh trial in the hit-and-run case would begin in the Sessions Court. The prosecution has to produce fresh evidence, as evidence submitted before the Magistrate's court would not be considered. If Salman is found guilty of the charges, he would have to serve a two-year jail term.

Besides the hit-and-run case, the actor is facing trouble with another case - poaching of two endangered blackbucks during the shooting of Bollywood film "Hum Sath Sath Hain" in 1998. A Jodhpur court on Saturday read out revised charges against the actor as well as four other stars - Saif Ali khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam. The next hearing of the blackbuck case is scheduled on 27 April.