Updated: Indian movie star Salman Khan has been sentenced five-year imprisonment, as he has been held guilty in the infamous Blackbuck Poaching Case of 1998.
The punishment was given under the Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The maximum punishment under the act is six years.
This is not the first time Salman Khan is accused of poaching. He was earlier acquitted by the high court in a couple of poaching cases. The lower court acquitted him in another case under the Arms Act.
Khan, a massively popular celebrity in India and abroad, is accused of killing a couple of blackbucks 20 years back. The alleged incident took place when he was shooting for his movie, Hum Saath Saath Hain, in Kankani village, Jodhpur.
The other actors who were the co-accused in the case are Tabu, Sonali Bendre, Neelam, and Saif Ali Khan. The remaining two accused were Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre. All of them have been acquitted.
Public prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati earlier said there was enough evidence against the Bollywood star. According to him, Khan was driving a car that night in October 1998. When he saw a number of blackbucks, he fatally shot at a couple of those. The rest of the animals ran away from the scene as they were chased by the accused, the Indian Express reported.
In 2006, a trial court found Salman Khan guilty of the crime and slapped a five-year jail term on him. However, the Rajasthan High Court suspended the decision after Khan had spent six days in jail. The trial court heard the final arguments regarding the case earlier in March. The judgment is due in the next few hours today.
Khan, whose earlier release Tiger Zinda Hai was hugely successful at the box office, will feature in Race 3 next. The director of the movie, Remo D’Souza, earlier said that the cast and crew of the movie would hope for a favorable verdict.
According to D’Souza, Khan never talked about the case during the shoot of Race 3.
“Same was the case during Abu Dhabhi schedule of Race 3, after which the actor left for the verdict,” First Post quoted him as saying.
Salman Khan, a controversial Indian star who’s been involved in a number of criminal cases in the past, was involved in a hit-and-run case as well. Huff Post earlier mocked him for giving a talk on safe driving.