Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been given permission to leave India and travel to an awards show in Dubai despite his recent conviction for a drunken hit and run.
Khan, 49, was found guilty of culpable homicide and other charges this month for driving his vehicle into a group of five men who were sleeping rough in Mumbai in 2002. One of them was killed. But Khan’s five-year jail term was suspended on 8 May pending an appeal, and now it appears the nation’s most bankable star is free to continue his promotional duties.
It is understood Khan’s lawyers filed an application seeking travel permission last week after the sentencing court in Mumbai ordered him to surrender his passport as part of bail conditions. On 26 May, the Bombay high court granted him permission to travel, providing he informs the Indian consulate in Dubai about the details of his trip and files a security deposit of about 200,000 rupees (£2,030), according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Khan is heading to the Arab Indo Bollywood awards in Dubai, which take place between 27–30 May. He has also resumed acting work and has just finished filming his new movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan opposite Kareena Kapoor. The actor’s appeal against his conviction and sentence is expected to be heard in July.
Khan’s apparent ability to avoid justice has led observers to suggest that the rich and powerful remain above the law in India. However, Khan has received huge support from fans and fellow Bollywood figures, with some even commentingthat the homeless people should not have been sleeping on a pavement in the first place.
Khan has become one of India’s biggest entertainment exports over the past three decades, starring in more than 80 Hindi-language films and television shows, including commercial hits such as Dabangg, Kick, Ready, and Bodyguard. Four of his movies are among the top 10 highest-grossing Indian films of all time, and it is predicted that 2.5bn rupees (£25.9m) worth of film production is currently riding on him.