Jodhpur, Jan 9 : The New Year may not augur well for Bollywood actor Salman Khan, whose tendency to fall in controversies is as frequent as his blockbusters.
A district court in Jodhpur today fixed Jan 18 for pronouncing the verdict in the Arms Act case, and asked the actor to be present in person in the court.
The verdict in the case was to be earlier given on Feb 25, 2015 but was deferred in this more than 18 year old case. but was deferred after the court had accepted the actor’s plea to produce four pending prosecution witnesses, whose applications dating back to 2006 had come to light and needed to be examined.
The final arguments of the case had started on December 9 in 2016. Salman’s conviction can land him in soup as a seven years prison awaits him then.
Rajasthan forest department had registered this case under Section 25 and 27 under the Arms Act in October, 1998, after the weapons, allegedly used by the actor to hunt down two black bucks, were found to have expired licences.
The arms involved were .22 rifle and a .32 revolver. The case was filed at Luni police station on the outskirts of Jodhpur against Salman.
The Arms Act case is one of the four cases of poaching endangered blackbucks and chinkara in Jodhpur region, in which the actor got embroiled in 1998.
The case has dragged on for over 18 years now after the actor was found guilty of poaching on the intervening night of Oct 1-2, 1998. Two black bucks, which are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, were found killed in village Kankani near Jodhpur.
He was shooting for director Sooraj Barjatya’s multi-starrer movie Hum Saath Saath Hain at that time with co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam.
Salman had appeared in the Jodhpur court in this case in March, 2016, pleading innocence and claiming false implication in the case. Pleading innocence, he called himself a “human being and an Indian” when asked to state his caste in the court of magistrate Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit.
Salman was earlier convicted and sentenced to a year and five years in two of the other cases. He has been jailed twice, once in April 2006 and then in August 2007. The actor had moved Rajasthan High Court, which stayed the orders.