By Sudhanshu Mishra
Actor Salman Khan had come prepared to plead innocence in the blackbuck poaching case being heard in Jodhpur court, but the chief judicial magistrate managed to stump with his very first question.
"Is this Salman Khan? Check and verify his identification," said the magistrate, after which the public prosecutor verified the records and replied in the affirmative.
Salman, as well as his fans present on the court premises, were taken aback by the question - but CJM Chandra Kala Jain insisted on going by the documents.
The actor appeared in the court on Wednesday to record his statement as an accused in the blackbuck poaching case, which was reported in Kankani village, Jodhpur in October 1998 during the shoot of the movie, Hum Saath Saath Hain.
Besides the poaching charges, there was also a case of using arms with an expired licence to kill the blackbucks.
Wednesday's proceedings were particularly under the Arms Act on the aspect of illegal arms while the poaching case under the Wildlife Protection Act is going on separately in the same court.
The next hearing of the poaching case is due on February 14.
It was a day of setbacks for Salman as the court rejected his counsel Hastimal Saraswat's plea to postpone the recording of his statement till the hearing on the parallel case was complete.
Saraswat's plea was based on the premise that Salman's statement on "illegal arms" would be construed as his participation in poaching.
However, Judge Jain rejected the plea as the public prosecutor argued that it should have been made earlier. As the court made its stand clear in the post-lunch session, Salman agreed to record his statement.
Saraswat told Mail Today that Salman told the court that he had committed no offence and that he was falsely implicated.
He challenged the FIR claiming he didn't possess any firearms with an expired licence in Jodhpur.