By Daliya Ghose
A Jodhpur Court will be hearing the blackbuck poaching case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Monday, March 10. The silver-screen superstar will appear for the hearing.
On January 29, the court had recorded Salman’s statement in which the actor had “denied all the allegations and said he was neither carrying illegal arms and nor did he poach blackbucks,” the actor’s counsel, Hastimal Saraswat, said while talking to a news agency.
On the night of October 1-2, 1998, two blackbucks, a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act — the hunting or poaching of the same is a punishable offence under the law — were killed on the outskirts of Kankani village near Jodhpur while the shooting of the movie ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, was going on.
A complaint was filed against Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan and actresses Neelam, Tabu and Sonali Bendre on charges of being involved in the killing of the two protected animals.
At that time the Bollywood star was also accused of carrying weapons with expired licences.
In February 2006, the superstar was convicted under the Wild Life Act for poaching a blackbuck and was sentenced to one-year imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000.
Trial of the blackbuck case was resumed on May 25, 2013, after 7 years of suspension after the Rajasthan High Court rejected the revision petition, filed by the state government in 2006.
In November 2013, the Rajasthan High Court stayed the conviction of actor Salman Khan in the case, which helped him get visa from countries which do not allow convicts to visit. The Jodhpur District Court comprising Chief Judicial Magistrate Chandra Kala Jain, after examining all prosecution witnesses, on January 15, 2014 asked Salman Khan to appear before the court in the case.
In December 2013, Salman Khan’s counsel had stated there were no direct evidences against the actor that he was carrying arms with expired licences during the alleged Blackbuck poaching at the nearby Kankani village in 1998.
The counsel also added that the case against the actor was nothing but a bunch of untruth, which had failed to take into consideration some very important facts.
In December 2012 fresh charges were imposed on the actor. Salman has been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, while others under Section 52 of the Act and Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC.