Jodhpur, April 7: Salman Khan has been granted bail by the Jodhpur court. Early on Saturday, it seemed like the superstar might have to spend a few more days in jail as the judge hearing his bail plea, District Sessions Judge Ravindra Joshi, was transferred by the Rajasthan High Court on Friday evening. Salman was convicted in a 20-year-old blackbuck poaching case on Thursday.
Mahipal Bishnoi, the lawyer of the Bishnoi community, said that Salman’s bail came with a few riders: He couldn’t leave the country without the court’s permission, he needed to appear before the court again on May 7 and he was to furnish two bonds of Rs. 25,000 each. The superstar’s fans across the nation started jubilating soon after the news of his bail came out. Scores of fans gathered outside Salman’s Mumbai residence to express solidarity with the controversial actor.
Salman had applied for bail as soon as he was convicted. The court had sentenced him to five years in jail with a fine of Rs. 10,000. The plea came up for hearing yesterday but the judge reserved the order. Salman’s lawyer Manish Bora had appeared with a 51-page bail application. The judge, sources said, sought some other documents, like the previous cases which were heard in the Rural and the Sessions Court. Of all the accused, Salman is the only one to be convicted. Actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre, and Neelam, were let off for lack of evidence.
Salman has been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act (to be read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code). The case pertains to blackbuck shooting way back in 1998 while the stars were shooting for Hum Saath Saath Hain in Jodhpur. In a late night outing, the group stepped out in a vehicle with Salman at the wheel. Later, as per the complaint filed against them, they hunted down and killed two blackbucks. In 2016, the Rajasthan High Court had acquitted Salman of all charges, following which, the state government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then agreed to fast-track the plea.