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Blackbuck poaching case: Salman Khan convicted; Saif, Tabu, Neelam, Sonali Bendre acquitted

The quantum of sentence will be announced later.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Our Correspondent

In a major turn of events, the Jodhpur court has convicted actor Salman Khan in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. He is the main accused in the case. The rest of the accused — Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam — have been acquitted.

The quantum of sentence will be announced later.

It all started when Salman, Saif, Tabu, Bendre and Neelam allegedly killed two blackbucks on the intervening night of 1-2 October in 1998 in the Rajasthan village of Kankani. They were there to shoot Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999).

Soon, the Bishnoi community, which worships blackbucks, lodged a police complaint against Salman, the main accused, and others for allegedly hunting the animals. Days later, Salman was arrested on 12 October 1998 and was released on bail on 17 October.

A case of illegal arms under the Arms Act is also filed against Salman for allegedly possessing arms with a expired license.

The first setback came for Salman on 10 April 2006 when a trial court convicted him in the case and sentenced him to five years and awarded a fine of Rs25,000. However, the sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan high court on 31 August 2007, which ordered Salman not to leave the country without the court’s permission.

The government of Rajasthan filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the Rajasthan high court’s ruleing. The SC fast-tracked the hearing in the case. But on 25 July 2016, the Rajasthan high court acquitted Salman in the case as the bench felt there was no proof that the animals were killed by Salman’s gun. On 18 January 2017, the actor was acquitted in the Arms Act case.