A Jodhpur (India) trial court yesterday marquee Bollywood star Salman Khan to five years in jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, reports Times of India.
A penalty of Rs 10,000 has also been levied on him. Other accused in the case, including actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu, were acquitted.
Jodhpur District Presiding Officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced Salman guilty of killing two blackbucks, which are an endangered species, on October 1, 1998 during a hunting expedition near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film “Hum Saath Saath Hain”.
The other accused actors were also present in court during pronouncement of the verdict. There are two other accused in the case -- travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre, Salman's assistant at the time. Gawre is still absconding.
Salman, 52, had earlier pleaded innocence in the case, claiming before the court that the blackbuck died of “natural causes” and he was being “framed”. Salman 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. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.
This is last of the three poaching cases against Salman from 1998 that is being heard at Jodhpur trial court. He was convicted in two poaching cases by trial court, only to be acquitted by the Rajasthan high court later.
Source: Times of India