RELIEF: Salman Khan
When Salman Khan stepped onto his balcony to wave to fans after having his five-year sentence for culpable homicide suspended this week, he and his family weren’t the only ones breathing a sigh of relief.
The film industry stood to lose tens of millions of pounds had the actor been sent to jail because a huge amount of money has been ploughed into his incomplete next two movies Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
The actor, who has been granted bail, is racing against time to finish the big budget projects before his next court appearance in July.
Those who have invested in subsequent projects are now waiting to see what will happen to the actor before allocating definite shooting dates. A number of brands the actor endorses are also closely monitoring proceedings, and the future of his charity Being Human is uncertain if he is imprisoned.
Now it looks like the fate of Salman and those who have invested in him is in the hands of British singer Kamaal Khan. He was in the car with Salman when it crashed into sleeping street dwellers, but was never questioned in court.
Although Salman’s defence team are using this in their appeal, a police statement has been unearthed where Kamaal allegedly confirms Salman was driving the car that killed the street dweller on that fateful night in 2002.
Kamaal sold all his belongings and left India a number of years ago, and if authorities track him down it could be the final nail in the coffin for Salman if he testifies for the prosecution. Nobody knows where Kamaal is and many think he has gone into hiding to protect close pal Salman.
The legal team for the defence is hoping to use factors like Kamaal’s absence to drag the appeal out, which could last a number of years, to keep Salman out of jail.
With the blackbuck case for illegal poaching also hanging over Salman, it looks like the lawyers will have to dodge another potential jail sentence, and those who have vested interests in him will have a few more sleepless nights.