"I have the highest regard for the judicial system"
Bollywood actor John Abraham has been given a jail sentence to spend 15 days in prison by the Bandra Magistrate court. The actor was found guilty of rash and negligent driving. He was given a fine for Rs 1,500 and also, subsequently released on bail for the same amount.
The sentence imposed on Thursday 14th October 2010 was for Abraham’s bad handling of his 1100 CC Yamaha Hayabusa motorbike which skidded and knocked down two men in April 2006.
John was on his way back from a modelling talent hunt show and the accident happened near the junction of C D Marg and Khar 17th Road in Mumbai. It’s reported that he stopped and then took the two men, 19-year-old Tanmay Majhi and Shyam Kasbe, 22, to the Bhabha Hospital, despite being hurt himself too. Rs 1,000 of the fine charged was to be compensation for Majhi. It’s reported that Kabse died two years later of tuberculosis.
John Abraham was present in court with his lawyer Robin Periera and nodded when the court announced the judgement. Metropolitan magistrate SV Kulkarni found him guilty of reckless driving and causing injury but took into consideration the fact that he did not leave the scene of the incident. The magistrate said: “Your move was humane and kind as you immediately took both victims to the hospital.”
John was charged under sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code. The offence of rash driving on a public road can attract to a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment.
John is adamant that he will appeal against the ruling. He said in a public statement:
“I am a law abiding citizen. I will be appealing against this verdict and will go to every length to have this verdict appealed.”
He added, “I am advised that I have a good chance of succeeding in the appeal.”
John felt that it was extremely important for him clarify his personal position with regards to the case. He said in his statement: “I also want to categorically state that I have the highest regard for the judicial system of our great country and this is more of a personal clarification I felt compelled to make due to the public life that I also lead than I commenting in any way to the judicial view.”
John is a huge fan of motorbikes and has always professed safety as a key factor. He is the ‘Brand Ambassador of Yamaha’ and at Delhi Auto Expo 2010 he unveiled Yamaha R1 bike. He also revealed that he usually rides his bike during late night in South Mumbai.
Being a public figure and celebrity, John, 37 years old, said that it was important for him not to give out any wrong message. He said: “Only because I am a public figure and in all modesty I do have a large youth interaction who look to me for guidance and leadership and inspiration and I don’t want them to feel or take away that when wronged we do not fight for what is right.”
Many feel that it will be easier for John to do the 15 days in prison than go into the long winded process of appealing and accept the reckless control of his bike. But with celebrities today getting prison sentences in the West such as George Michael and Lindsey Lohan, it is hoped that the Indian courts will not deal with this case any differently than they would for anyone from the public committing such a crime, just because John Abraham is a Bollywood movie star.