By Ajay Parmar
JODHPUR: Salman Khan and other film stars including Saif Ali Khan will appear in the court of chief judicial magistrate here on Saturday to hear fresh charges against them in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam arrived in Jodhpur on Friday afternoon, Salman Khan is expected to reach on Saturday morning.
The Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan high court had revised the charges against these stars in December 2012 charging Salman Khan with section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act and others including a local accused Dushyant Singh with section 51/52 of Wildlife Protection Act and section 149 of the IPC.
"Earlier the lower court on February 20, 2006 had framed Salman Khan under section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act, 27 of Arms Aact and 148 of IPC, whereas others including Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Dushyant Singh had been framed under sections 51 and 52 of Wildlife Protection Act, and section 147 and 149 of IPC", said Hastimal Saraswat, counsel for Salman Khan.
The accused then had filed a revision petition in the session court, which discharged Salman Khan from sections 27 Arms Act and section 148 of IPC whereas others were discharged of sections 147 and 149 of IPC.
Saraswat said that the state government then filed a revision petition in the high court, which upheld the decision of the sessions court in Salman's case but added section 149 of IPC against others besides section 51/52 of Wildlife Protection Act, which the session court had dropped.
Finally after 14 years of poaching of two blackbucks in the intervening night of October 1-2, 1998 in Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of 'Hum Saath Saath Hain', the trial will commence in the lower court with the revised charges, for which the court has summoned all the accused on Saturday. All of them had last appeared in the same court on 19 June, 2006 but the consecutive revision petitions first by the defence and then by the state government had held up the trial.
The Bollywood stars were found guilty of killing the protected animals at three different places during shoot of the film in Jodhpur. In the other two cases, Salman Khan was convicted for 1 year and 5 years consecutively for the poaching of two Chinkaras at Bhawad and one blackbuck at Ghoda Farm (Mathania) in the intervening nigh of September 26-27, 1998 and September 28-29, 1998 respectively. Appeals against these sentences both by Salman Khan and state government are pending in the Rajasthan high court.