One of the most popular Bollywood actors and the biggest box-office draw in India, Salman Khan has been convicted in a 20-year-old blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur trial court today. The court has sentenced him to 2 years in prison.
Jodhpur District Presiding Officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced the judgment while holding off on awarding the quantum of punishment for the actor right away. The quantum of punishment was awarded later, handing down two years jail term to the actor.
The honorable court has let off co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu. They were also present in court during pronouncement of the verdict. Reportedly, the actors were in the jeep that Salman Khan was believed to be driving on October 1 and 2, 1998.
Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu are accused of hunting down two blackbucks, hunting of which is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act, in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the multi-starrer film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, directed by reputed Hindi film director Sooraj Barjatya.
Salman had earlier pleaded innocence in the case, claiming before the court that the blackbuck died of natural causes and he was being framed.
The is facing 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.
On the work front, Salman Khan will shortly be seen in Remo D’Souza’s action entertainer ‘Race 3’, also starring Jacqueline Fernandez, Anil Kapoor, Daisy Shah, Bobby Deol and Saqib Saleem in important roles. Besides ‘Race 3’, Khan has also committed to ‘Bharat’, ‘Dabangg 3’ and ‘Kick 2’. Reportedly, more than 500 crores are riding on Salman Khan at the moment.