Bollywood actor Salman Khan is on a high. His legal troubles in chinkara and blackbuck poaching cases in Jodhpur, may seem over for the time being.
The Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur today acquitted the actor in the 1998 chinkara poaching case. However, the state government would appeal in the Supreme Court.
Salman was accused of hunting and killing two chinkaras at Bhawad on the outskirts of Jodhpur on the intervening night of 26-27 September, 1998. He is also accused of killing one chinkara at Ghoda Farm Mathania.
A police complaint was filed by the Bishnoi community on the midnight of 28 September, 1998 within the limits of Mathania village. The state government also filed the case against the actor.
Salman was shooting for the film Hum Saath Saath Hain during that time. The lower court earlier convicted him to five years and one year rigorous imprisonment in the above two cases. Salman went to jail for three days in 1998 and in April 2006 and six days in 2007.
Salman, along with four other actors, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam had been charged for violation of Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The Act states that anyone hunting (capturing, killing, poisoning, snaring or trapping) any wild animal or trying to do so may be sent to jail for three years.
Apart from this, all the five accused were also charged under section 52 of the Wildlife Act (abetment of hunting) as well as Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with unlawful assembly.
Salman has denied all the charges, saying he is innocent and that he was not present at the those places during that time.
The High Court Nirmal Jeet Kaur today acquitted him saying there is not enough evidence to prove that the dead animals were shot with Salman’s guns.
Salman is also charged for killing two black bucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on Oct 1-2 , 1998. He is also charged under the Arms Act for using arms with expired licenses.
The verdict in these two cases is awaited. If charged, the actor can be given jail term extending from three to five years.
Salman Khan however, is the flavour of Bollywood now with his latest film Sultan running full houses even after two weeks. He, however, got embroiled in another controversy after he said training for his wrestler’s role left him feeling ‘like a raped woman.’ The National Woman Commission has demanded his apology but he hasn’t apologised till now.