Jodhpur court has convicted Salman Khan in a 20-year-old blackbuck poaching case and acquitted actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam on Thursday. He has been sentenced to two years in jail. While arguing on the quantum of punishment, the prosecution called Salman Khan a habitual offender. Salman’s lawyer strongly opposed the statement, saying that Salman has been acquitted from higher courts. Salman is involved in social service, the actor’s lawyer also told the court.
Elaborate security arrangements were made in and outside the court premises ahead of the verdict. Final arguments in the case were completed in the trial court on March 28, after which Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the judgment to be pronounced on April 5. All the actors arrived the city and were present in court during pronouncement of the verdict.
Salman Khan, 52, faced charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.
The actors were accused of hunting down two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in village Kankani near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati said there was sufficient evidence against the actors.