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Blackbuck poaching case: Glad this ordeal is over but disappointed for Salman, says Samir Soni 

While Samir Soni's wife, Neelam Kothari, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu and Sonali Bendre have been acquitted, the Jodhpur sessions court has convicted Salman Khan, the prime accused in the 1998 case.

Mayur Lookhar

Salman Khan, his family, friends and fans are disappointed with the Jodhpur sessions court's verdict convicting the star in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

However, the verdict has brought relief to co-accused — Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam Kothari. As reported by Times Now news channel, the court has cited lack of evidence as reason for their acquittal.

All the artistes were shooting for Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999) when the incident took place in a forest in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Cinestaan.com contacted Neelam Kothari’s husband, actor-director Samir Soni, who said he was both relieved and disappointed. “Glad this long ordeal is over but really disappointed for Salman Khan,’ Soni said via a text message.

Later, in a conversation with India Today Television, Soni said, “20 years is a long time. Well, what to  do what but that’s how the judicial system works. It’s all over now, hopefully.  I’m relieved for Neelam but disappointed for Salman.”

When asked whether Kothari was present during the backbuck killing, Soni replied with a confident, "NO", but refused to speak further citing legal constraints.

Chief judicial magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri of the Jodhpur sessions court has convicted Khan under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, which carries  a minimum one-year jail term and a maximum punishment of six years.