Salman Khan verdict: Actor found guilty, others acquitted

Actor Salman Khan leaves the Jodhpur Central Jail on Friday after the Rajasthan High Court granted him bail in the chinkara poaching case. He spent six nights in jail. Photo by Sanjay Arora *** Local Caption *** Actor Salman Khan leaves the Jodhpur Central Jail on Friday after the Rajasthan High Court granted him bail in the chinkara poaching case. He spent six nights in jail. Photo by Sanjay Arora

Salman Khan blackbuck poaching case: A Jodhpur court on Thursday convicted actor Salman Khan in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, while acquitting co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu due to lack of strong evidence against them.

Salman was accused of killing two blackbucks on October 2, 1998 in Kankani village in Jodhpur during the shooting of “Hum Saath Saath Hain”. The trial of the case has been in progress for the last 19 years and Judge Dev Kumar Khatri reserved the order after the final arguments on March 28. If convicted Salman, who has been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, may face six years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, actor Saif Ali Khan courted a controversy upon landing in the city and was heard threatening his driver after he was surrounded by media people. In the video clip, Khan is heard telling his driver, “Sheesha upar karo aur reverse kar lo varna padegi ek (put the window up and reverse the car or else you will get slapped)”.

Salman was convicted in one of the cases in 2006 and was sentenced to five years in jail. While the actor spent a week in jail, the sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan High Court. The actor was also booked under the Arms Act as the licence of the gun he allegedly used while hunting had expired. However, the charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence.

What went against Salman Khan?

Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in prison by the Jodhpur court.

The final arguments in the case were completed in the trial court on March 28 this year, following which Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri reserved the judgment for today. During the final arguments, the prosecution counsel had described the spot of alleged poaching, citing the statements of witnesses Poonam Chand and Chhoga Ram and the post-mortem report, which nailed Salman Khan.

Salman Khan will be taken to Jodhpur Central Jail

NS Solanki, lawyer of Dushyant Singh who was co-accused in blackbuck poaching case, said Salman Khan’s counsel were praying for probation. “Argument on quantum of punishment is on. Salman Khan’s counsels are praying for probation,” Solanki said. The prosecution has demanded maximum punishment for Salman Khan. The actor will be taken to Jodhpur Central Jail, which currently houses inmates like Asaram Bapu, Malkhan Singh Vishnoi and Shambhu Lal Regar. The latter two are accused in the Bhanwari Devi abduction case and the Rajasthan hacking case, respectively. Regar had allegedly killed a West Bengal labourer on the pretext of love jihad.

Arguments underway on quantum of sentence

Arguments currently underway on quantum of sentence. Salman Khan’s lawyer pleads for minimum sentence. If the court pronounces more than three years in prison for the actor, Salman will have to approach a higher court for bail but if it is less than three years, the actor can apply for bail in the same court.

Here is what Salman said at an interview with NDTV in 2009

Salman Khan, who has always maintained innocence, had said in an interview with NDTV in 2009 that he had only fed the blackbuck and did not shoot at it. Narrating an incident that happened after shooting got over for the movie “Hum Saath Saath Hain”, Khan said, “We (Saif, Sonali, Neelam, Tabu) saw a deer fawn, stuck in a bush and he was petrified. I took him out of there, gave him some water. The whole pack was there. He ate a few biscuits and then went away”.

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