On Wednesday, Bollywood actor Salman Khan was sentenced to five years in a Jodhpur court by a court in Kankani Black Deer Hunting case. Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri, while pronouncing the sentence, said that the accused is a popular actor who people follow. But he hunted for his own fun.
Jodhpur District Presiding Officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced Salman guilty of killing two blackbucks, which are an endangered species, on October 1, 1998, during a hunting expedition near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.
Salman, 52, had earlier pleaded innocence in the case, claiming before the court that the blackbuck died of “natural causes” and he was being “framed”.
“The way the accused killed two innocent black bucks in violation of the wildlife laws…he is a film star, people emulate him and look up to him… and there has been a rise in poaching incidents, so leniency is not justified given the severity of the crime, the evidence and the circumstances,” said the judge, explaining his decision.
Four other Bollywood stars, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari, were acquitted for lack of evidence. The stars were shooting for a film near Jodhpur when the hunt took place. Salman Khan was accused by witnesses of spotting a herd of blackbucks and shooting dead two.
Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. In such a situation, he is not entitled to concessions in the sentence. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment.
H M Saraswat, the defence counsel for Salman Khan, said there are many loopholes in the prosecution’s case and the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond any doubt.
“Prosecution has even failed to prove that blackbucks were killed by gunshots. Hence such investigation cannot be trusted upon”, Saraswat said during final arguments on March 28.
“Salman Khan has been given number 106 and is lodged in ward number two. He was made to undergo a medical test and has no medical issues,” said Singh.
Image Source- Google”Multiple-layer security has been put up for his ward. Singh added that Khan had made no demands or special requests – including for drinking water. “Singh shared that the actor expressed a special affinity for Rajasthan, which, Khan purportedly said, would “not suffer” despite the conviction.
The senior officer said that he did not want the actor to be left alone, even as he referred to Khan as someone “who does not seem easily scared.”
Salman Khan’s lawyer had argued in court that he had suffered the trial for 20 years and had appeared in court whenever he was summoned. Also, he said that if the actor was sent to jail, it would impact the livelihood of many homes dependent on the film industry.
Known for his tough guy roles in Hindi films, Salman Khan had denied shooting the antelopes and had accused the state’s forest department of framing him over the black buck case.
He was cleared in 2015 of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run accident in 2002. That decision is now being challenged in the Supreme Court. The actor’s bail plea hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. His lawyer can meet him in jail any time.