The Rajasthan High Court on Monday acquitted actor Salman Khan in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.
The court held that the case was based on weak circumstantial evidence and the prime witness was missing.
This comes after the actor challenged the 18-year-old lower court’s decision awarding him a five-year sentence and a year’s sentence in two separate cases of poaching.
Salman Khan’s lawyer said that the court accepted their argument that the case was false and not did not have any eyewitnesses.
Defence also strongly argued that these pellets had been planted since they were not found in the vehicle during forest department s inspection and were found there surprisingly by the police later.
Similarly, the defence also argued that Khan was not in possession of weapons allegedly used in poaching and were brought to Jodhpur from Mumbai only on demand of the forest department. Also, it was argued that the pellets produced belonged to air gun, which has no capacity at all to kill an animal.
In its reply, the prosecution counsel K L Thakur had argued that Dulani was present in the court twice but the defence did not examine him.
Thakur citing the statements of the co-accused, tried to prove the case by corroborating the statements of Dulani, though, some of them had turned hostile in the court later.
Citing the FSL report of the blood stains taken from Hotel Aashirwad, where the carcass said to have been taken by Khan in first case and the blood socked soil from the spot of poaching in second case, Thakur tried to prove that it was chinkara s blood.
Prosecution also produced the FSL report of the tyre marks of the vehicle in question in second case and maintained that out of 6 samples, 4 matched proving that it was the same vehicle, which had gone on spot of poaching.
However, the Rajasthan government is likely to challenge the order in the Supreme Court.
The actor is accused of poaching three chinkaras near Jodhpur in September-October 1998 while shooting for the film “Hum Saath Saath Hain”.
One of the animals was killed at Bhawad on the outskirts of Jodhpur on September 26, 1998, and the other at Ghoda Farms on September 28, 1998.
He had served a week's sentence in connection with the case before getting bail.
Chinkaras, an endangered species of antelopes are a protected species and hunting them is banned.
The state forest department also registered a case under the Arms Act alleging the actor’s arm licenses had expired then.
The cases in connection with the killing of blackbucks and arm acts are still being heard in the court.
The state forest department registered a case under the Arms Act alleging the actor’s arm licenses had expired then.