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Bollywood star Salman Khan faces homicide trial

Bollywood actor Salman Khan seen here during a press conference in Mumbai, on June 22, 2011
Bollywood actor Salman Khan seen here during a press conference in Mumbai, on June 22, 2011. A court in Mumbai has ruled that Khan will be tried for culpable homicide over a 2002 hit-and-run case which could land him behind bars for 10 years, his lawyer h

A court in Mumbai has ruled that Bollywood star Salman Khan will be tried for culpable homicide over a 2002 hit-and-run case which could land him behind bars for 10 years, his lawyer said Friday.

Khan is alleged to have rammed his Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle onto a pavement and over five sleeping homeless people in suburban Mumbai, killing one and injuring four others.

Dipesh Mehta, who represents Khan, said a sessions court had on Thursday "directed the police to book him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder".

"We will however challenge this decision in the High Court," Mehta told AFP.

Khan was being tried under a lesser charge of rash and negligent driving but prosecutors had filed an application for the charges to be upgraded, which the court upheld. The new offences carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

"The court said there was enough evidence to show the act was not incidental and hence the case should be tried under a more serious section," the Times of India reported on Friday, quoting another of Khan's lawyers Kaushal Thakkar.

The star has been asked to be present in court on March 11.

Khan -- known for his muscular physique and off-camera fits of temper -- has been a controversial figure since he first broke into Bollywood in the late 1980s in the romance film "Maine Pyar Kiya" (I'm In Love).

In 1998, he spent more than a week in prison for killing endangered Indian gazelles in the northern state of Rajasthan.

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