A Jodhpur court held actor Salman Khan guilty in a 1998 blackbuck poaching case but acquitted fellow actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre, who were names co-accused in the killing. The conviction of the actor came after 20 years of legal proceedings. The actor was charged with killing two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of 1-2 October, 1998, during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain. He has been convicted under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, which carries a maximum punishment of six years and minimum one-year jail term.
A fifth person, Dushyant Singh, a local from the area, has also been acquitted, said Mahipal Bishnoi, the prosecution counsel. Final arguments of the case were completed in the trial court on 28 March, after which Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved his judgment.
A file image of Salman Khan
Salman was facing charges under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. All the actors were in a Gypsy car on the night of 1 October, 1998 that night, with Salman Khan in the driving seat. He spotted a herd of blackbucks and killed two of them, the lawyer said.
Legal choices for Salman Khan
According to latest reports, the Jodhpur court is most likely to announce the quantum of sentencing on Thursday. However, there is a possibility that the order might not come today. In which case, Salman will be taken to the Jodhpur Central Jail immediately.
If the court announces a sentence of less than three years, Salman can immediately apply for bail and return home a free man. But, if the quantum of sentence is more than three years, the actor will have to appeal in a higher court. It is important to note that the Jodhpur court verdict is not the final say in the case. The actors can approach higher courts.
The prosecution has demanded maximum punishment for the actor which is six years. However, the defence has sought minimum punishment of three years and is trying to get early probation for the actor. via FirstPost