Bollywood star Salman Khan's hit-and-run conviction overturned by High Court

Bollywood actor Salman Khan sits in a car as he leaves a court in Mumbai Credit: Shailesh Andrade

An Indian court has overturned a Bollywood star's conviction in a 13-year-old hit-and-run case.

Actor Salman Khan, 49, was found guilty of culpable homicide after a vehicle rammed into a group of people sleeping on a pavement in 2002, killing one and injuring four. He was accused of driving while drunk and convicted by a Mumbai criminal court this year.

Khan had appealed against the five-year sentence, and on Thursday the Bombay High Court overturned it, with Justice A. R. Joshi saying: "The prosecution failed to establish its case on all charges." Khan has been acquitted.

Khan showed little emotion, although his lawyer declared the ruling "a relief".

The decision appears to free one of Bollywood's biggest stars from a case that threatened to end a career of portraying bad boys with a heart of gold in dozens of blockbusters.

The story has gripped India, and Bollywood fans followed every twist of a case that initially saw Khan argue his driver was behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

Many questioned the reversal of a guilty verdict that prosecution lawyers had said demonstrated the impartiality of India's justice system, by denying exceptions to the rich and famous.

Prosecutors said they had not decided whether to challenge the verdict on Thursday.