The Bollywood star Salman Khan is acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in the 1998 Blackbuck and Chinkara poaching cases. Justice Nirmaljeet Kaur of Jodhpur principal seat of High Court pronounced the verdict on Monday. The court held that the bullets recovered from animals in the 18-year old cases were not fired out of the Khan’s licensed gun.
The driver of the jeep used by the actor and seven others who were allegedly involved in the hunting cases has been missing. Mr. Khan was accused of killing Chinkara at Bhawad on the outskirts of Jodhpur on September 26, 1998, and the other at Ghoda Farms on September 28, 1998.
Khan was convicted under the Wild Life Act for poaching the Chinkara and Blackbuck, was sentenced to one-five year imprisonment in 2006 and 2007 respectively and was charged Rs. 5000 as fine. The two incidents allegedly happened when Salman Khan was shooting for, “Hum Saath Saath Hain,” a film directed by Sooraj Barjatya. Besides Salman his co-stars, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were also charged in the poaching case.
The actor aged 50, was not present at the court when the HC pronounced the verdict. His sister Alvira and their lawyer Hasthimal Saraswat attended the court. “When the court asked for the bullets recovered it was proved that they were not fired from that gun,” said Hasthimal.
A local Bishnoi community has been fighting the case against the actor. So, they might appeal against the pronounced verdict. “We can go to the SC against this judgment,” said community leader Mahipal Bishnoi.