Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Apr 5: Actor Salman Khan has been convicted in the 20-year-old Blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court. Actors Sonali Bendre, Tabu, Saif Ali Khan and Neelam, who were present at the blackbuck hunting session in 1998 along with the Dabangg actor, have been acquitted. The court found Khan guilty of all the charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. He has also been convicted of possessing a gun with an expired licence. The quantum of sentence is expected to be pronounced at 2:30 PM.
“Argument on quantum of punishment is on. Salman Khan’s counsels are praying for probation,” said NS Solanki, lawyer of Dushyant Singh who was co-accused in blackbuck poaching case, ANI reported.
Salman Khan is accused of killing two blackbucks in 1998 when he along with other actors was shooting for Hum Saath Saath Hain. The Dabangg actor killed the blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the October 1-2. Other actors, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam who have been acquitted in the case, were also present with Salman Khan during the hunting session.
The killing had reportedly angered the Bishnoi community which filed a complaint against the actor and one local involved in the hunting of the blackbucks. Final arguments of the case were completed on March 28 after which Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri reserved the hearing in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case for April 5.
While Salman Khan was charged with Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, the other actors were charged under Section 51 and Section 149 (unlawful assembly). Salman Khan was also charged with keeping an arm with an expired licence.
Claiming to have enough evidence against Khan, Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati had said, “All of them were in a Gypsy car that night, with Salman Khan in the driving seat. He, on spotting a herd of black bucks, shot at and killed two of them. But on being spotted and chased, they fled from the spot leaving the dead animals there.” Salman’s counsel HM Saraswat had argued that the prosecution failed to prove any charge, and it had been fabricating evidence.